Let's get real about courage and failure.

Success is not final,

Failure is not fatal:

It is the courage to continue that counts”

I added this quote to the Write Change Grow Facebook page over the weekend. Since then I haven’t been able to stop thinking about what this quote means.

Success and failure have such a diverse range of meaning for us all. One person’s success could be seen as another person’s failure.

I think it’s safe to say that we generally want more success and dread failure regardless of how we personally define each one.

People often talk about having a fear of success or fear of failure but maybe it is the third part of this quote that really scares us.

It’s about what comes next.

After success you are meant to continue succeeding.

After failure you are supposed to keep going (until you succeed).

What if you are feeling so much pressure and overwhelm, you feel like doing neither?

This is where courage comes in. This is where persistence, perseverance and tenacity come into play.

It is important to note that courage to continue may not mean continuing to do things the same way we have always done them.

Sometimes it takes more courage to STOP what we are doing. 

It takes strength to acknowledge a mistake or accept that our current situation is not working. As an example, sometimes it takes a lot more courage to leave a professional or personal relationship than it does to simply continue on as before.

Courage can mean our ability to step back and look at a situation logically and realistically. It can involve good decision-making or choosing an effective strategy or plan and yes it can also mean taking a huge leap of faith.

Whether it’s a case of reinvention, reassessment, staying on the same path, trying something completely new or giving up something that isn’t working, it all takes courage.

Yet how do we handle those times when our courage feels like it has deserted us?

When we are staring down failure it can be particularly hard. These are often the moments we feel tired, exhausted, stressed, fed up and disillusioned. These are the times we feel more like climbing into bed for a week than going out and facing the world.

Do you think the above list applies only to failure? Think again. Reaching a certain level of success often involves huge amounts of energy, time, sacrifice and hard work. Though we may be reveling in our success, we may also be downright exhausted.

Most of us are not courageous all of the time.

Sometimes we have to ride out the tough times. Sometimes we need to take time out. We need to work through the moments of doubt, fear and anxiety. We have to experience them – move through them – to come out the other side.

No matter how you look at it, no matter how you define success or failure – the courage to continue with whatever course of action is right for you is the key.

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