“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” Winston Churchill
This quote is more than good advice. It is a way of living a successful life.
Success is not final.
Even repeating our actions does not guarantee success. As our circumstances change, the actions we need for success change. For nearly thirty years, I built a recruiting business based on using a telephone, a database of file cards, and paper mail. Over time, the need for a telephone shriveled to a small part of my business communications, my database went from file cards to my computer, and emails have all but replaced postal mail.
Failure is not fatal.
Over all the years of recruiting, I had many failures. I had candidates turn down offers. I lost clients through company mergers, acquisitions, and changes in recruiting practices. I had to learn that my business was a numbers game. The number of contacts I reached determined how much money I made. Everyone has failures. Focusing on my failures would only create more failures and eventually kill my business. Focusing on the numbers of contacts I made and not the failures I encountered, I moved through decades of change successfully.
During a period of frustration, I called a friend and told him of my fears that my business might fail. He suggested that I just think about what was on my desk, act on those things, and let the results take care of themselves. I had to learn that success was not a matter of thinking, but a matter of planning and taking action.
I called a partner one time and told him that I had a problem.
I began by saying,” I was just thinking.”
He cut me off. He said, “That statement explains your problem. You have to stop thinking and start acting.”
Planning has its place as a form of action but not as a form of painful mental processing.
It is the courage to continue that counts.
Finding courage is an inside job. Ruminating produces worrying. Here are some things that help me stop ruminating and find courage.
- Eating when I am hungry
- Resting when I am tired
- Stopping to help other people
- Meditating to rest my mind
- Turning anger into an opportunity to take a walk
I am not perfect. I still become overconfident when I am successful. When I experience failure, I become frustrated, angry, and fearful. I sometimes lack courage to face problems. However, when I allow myself to get back into action and to live a healthy life, I find the courage to accept failure and find new ways for success.
Image: Marcus Hansson/Flickr