I recently went through a corporate restructure and found myself searching for what would be the next step in my career. Many of you have also found yourself in a similar situation and regardless of the circumstances, this type of change is rarely ever easy. I quickly realized that this change was similar to many of the other changes I have experienced in my life. While each occasion of change has its own unique characteristics, the fact of the matter is that change is not something that most of us enjoy. In fact, many individuals that experience change, struggle to thrive in that change believing the worst case scenario, when in fact we should all seek out how the change can make us better!
This perspective became very clear during this most recent change. You see, I was cleaning out my desk and I ran across an old poem that a former VP had given to me titled “Don’t Quit”. As I sat quietly in my office and read over this poem, I quickly realized it was definitely meant for me at this moment in time. But, as I read through it several more times, I began to realize that this wasn’t just meant for this moment but for many moments in my life.
As our world continues to evolve and change around us, as obstacles continuously pop up in front of our eyes, we must continuously forge ahead. As a leader in my home and on the job, it is essential to have a positive outlook on how events in our lives can impact us. The fact is that very little remains constant in this world. Technology has changed, families have changed, how we work has changed, how we are educated has changed and like it or not these things and many others will continue to evolve and change. I love the line in the poem that says, “When he might have won had he stuck it out”. How many times do we quit without really trying, I mean really trying and giving it everything that we have? It reminds me of a story of a young man who loved the game of football. This young man tried out and made his junior high football team and he quickly began to see that what happened on game day was the culmination of a lot of hard work and effort, so he quit. As the years passed he continued to look back on that choice to quit and was constantly filled with regret and wonder about what could have been. Had he stuck it out, could he have played college football or even in the NFL? But that is something he will never know and he will always regret, all because he quit. I know this story all too well because it is mine. You see, because quitting football has led me to asking, “what if”, all of the time.
So now I keep this poem right in front of me as a reminder each and every day that I must not quit. I am reminded there is usually something in my life either personally or professionally, that requires perseverance to carry on. Life is simply too short to say, “I Quit”! In fact, it reminds me of a line in Kenny Chesney’s song Don’t Blink that says, “Cause when your hourglass runs out of sand, you can’t flip it over and start again”! There is simply not enough time to be filled with “what ifs” in our lives.
I don’t know what is going on in your life, personally or professionally. However, what I do know is life is full of twists and turns and ups and downs. In our careers, we will face adversity, but as the poem says, “Success is failure turned inside-out”. So stay the course and fight the good fight because “It’s when things seem worst that you MUST NOT Quit”!
When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest, if you must, but don’t you quit.
Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about,
When he might have won had he stuck it out;
Don’t give up though the pace seems slow–
You may succeed with another blow.
Often the goal is nearer than,
It seems to a faint and faltering man,
Often the struggler has given up,
When he might have captured the victor’s cup,
And he learned too late when the night slipped down,
How close he was to the golden crown.
Success is failure turned inside out–
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so far,
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit–
It’s when things seem worst that you must not quit.
– Author unknown
*Category Team Leader, Walmart – Bayer
*Title and company of the author reflect their position at the time article was written.
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