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The Dragons return to their early lairs

What does it take to climb the corporate ladder right to the top?Wouldn’t you love to know how to make the move from working stiff tofabulously wealthy mogul?

What does it take to climb the corporate ladder right to the top? Wouldn’t you love to know how to make the move from working stiff to fabulously wealthy mogul?


That is the subject of The Road to Riches, the season finale of Dragons’ Den tonight. The program tells the life stories of all five Dragons, none of whom were born into money, but who all found a way to parlay their abilities into huge business success.


There are a lot of revelations in the show: Who knew Kevin O’Leary looked like such a bad boy teenager, with long hair and a haze of smoke around him in every shot! Brett Wilson is unbelievably open, sharing deeply personal stories. There’s an emotional scene where it’s clear Robert Herjavec’s heart is still aching over his mother’s death.


We also get to visit with Arlene Dickinson and her four children at her sunny, southern getaway, and meet the partner who helped Jim Treliving along his journey from RCMP officer to savvy business-man.


What struck me most though is how hard every one of them worked. Consider Jim’s experience at his first Boston Pizza franchise.


“I cooked, I did the prep in the morning, did all the stuff to get ready for opening,” he says. “And then I cut pizza. After we closed at three in the morning I’d scrub the floor.” He says he didn’t have a day off for two-and-a-half years!


No wonder he enjoys his condo in Vancouver so much, along with the many trips he takes by private jet to events like the Masters Tournament.
Robert too, was a hard worker, first as a waiter and then later as a highly ambitious salesman.


“People always tell you it’s about who you know, it’s about your connections,” he says. “And granted, if you have that, it’s easier. But it’s also a load of crap. All it means is that you just gotta work harder.”


Herjavec encourages everyone to try. “I’m no more special, I’m no better. I started out where we can all start. And if I was able to do it in a great country like Canada, then anyone can.”


But there’s more to it all than money, of course. Brett shares what he told his son. “I really want you to think about success as happiness. And if your needs are many, you may never be happy. But if your needs are few and easily met, you might always be happy.”


Dianne Buckner is the host of Dragons’ Den and the weekend anchor on the CBC News Network. Watch Dragons’ Den at 8 p.m. tonight on CBC.