Don’t Give Up

Things didn’t work out for me today like I planned. I made my mental to-do list and hit the ground ready to tackle the day. I put on my positive attitude and faced the sunny side of life. Still, things didn’t work out like I planned.

Specifically, I proposed a well-intended project with the potential to help a lot of people. However, I ran into opposition first thing this morning from someone whose cooperation is vital for the project to succeed.

Later in the day, my favorite sports team lost the deciding game in the playoffs, unceremoniously ending its season. Major bummer. So, here I sit at the end of a day that started with much promise and ended in disappointment.

It’s easy to write a day like this off to failure. It’s also easy to ignore the victories. I encouraged a group of co-workers at a lunch meeting and gathered valuable insight from them on some work-place operations. I had positive interactions with others at work that got the week started on the right foot. Yet, I’m writing this blog from the point of asking myself “self, how are you going to react to things not going your way today?”

Personal development is not something you do just on the good days. Leadership is not something you exercise only when people merrily follow your suggestions. Self-improvement doesn’t happen only when things go according to plan.

Often we grow the most by working through adversity. When told “I have a problem with your idea,” you can do one of two things. One, you can quit. Give up. Throw in the towel. Or two, you can consider the opposition as a reality check that you still have work to do if your plan truly has merit.

The world is not waiting on you and me to save them with our latest, greatest idea. The world wants you and me to help them live out their latest, greatest idea, even when the sum total of their plan is telling you about their weekend. Therein lies the great rub. How do we succeed with people who say they want us to succeed, but will ever so quickly shoot down our plan for success? What happens when we try hard and are told no? How do we react when our team loses in the playoffs, ending the season which brought such high hopes?

Here’s what separates the winners from the losers; the successful from the mediocre. Everyone loses. But the winners get back up and keep trying. Losers don’t. Life has a way of knocking us down, if for no other reason than to see if we have the mettle and grit to get back up again.

I’m not giving up on my project because I know it’s a good idea that will help a lot of people. Don’t give up on yours either. Winston Churchill is worth quoting here, as his statement stands the test of time on handling adversity.

Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts. If you’re going through hell, keep going. Never, never, never give up.–Winston Churchill.

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