Friday, November 16, 2012

Fail While Daring Greatly, and You Will Succeed

English: Col. Theodore Roosevelt. Crop of Imag...
Col. Theodore Roosevelt, 1898 (Wikipedia)
by Lisa Ryan

"The credit belongs to those who are actually in the arena, who strive valiantly; who know the great enthusiasm, and spend themselves in a worthy cause; who at the best, know the triumph of high achievement; and who, at the worst, if they fail, fail while daring greatly, so that their place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat" - Theodore Roosevelt.

I didn't go to college right out of high school.

It never occurred to me to attend college until I was working at an Executive Search firm and saw the career differences between people with degrees versus those without formal education.

I thought, "Hmm, looks like college is for me." I began attending college on a very part-time basis.

Friends and family members asked, "Do you know how old you are going to be when you get your degree?" My answer was, "I'm going to be the same age with or without a degree, so I might as well have one."

Eight years later I received my Associates degree (the first in my family to have a degree of any kind). Four years later, I accepted my Bachelor's degree and two years later, my MBA. To this day, the achievement of my Bachelor's degree reigns as one of the happiest and proudest moments of my life.

Sometimes our most important achievements don't take years; they take months of practice and hours of work. One of my friends decided to participate in a half Ironman competition. She trained for months and was in the best shape of her life.

As good as she felt, however, her strength and stamina did not match up to many others in the race. (If you are not familiar with the Ironman, it consists of a 1.2-mile (1.9 km) swim, 56-mile (90 km) bike ride, and 13.1-mile (21.1 km) run.) She decided she was going to do it anyway.

Swimming was her weakest event and she was happy when she completed that segment. She made it through the bike ride without incident and it was now time for the last portion of the race, the 13.1 mile run. By then, she was exhausted. Every muscle and joint in her body ached and she desperately wanted to give up. Fortunately, she had family members and friends that were there to cheer her on.

A few of them joined her for parts of the race to give her encouragement. She was told, "Pain is temporary, but quitting lasts forever," and that's what kept her going. Nine hours after beginning the race, as the race officials were pulling up the markers, she crossed the finish line. She experienced on of the proudest moments of her life.

Many times, the things we regret most are the things we DIDN'T do or the experiences we chose NOT to have? Taking the chances necessary to pursue our dreams is scary, and yet that's where our greatest successes come from.

What would you like to achieve? If the fear of failure is holding you back, simply ask yourself the question, "Which is worse - failure of regret?" If you fail while daring greatly, there is no shame. Chances are your triumph will be even more spectacular when victory is achieved.

Have fun, Lisa.

We can learn lessons from our failures, but there is no cure for remorse.

Lisa Ryan is the Chief Appreciation Strategist with Grategy. She is a keynote speaker, gratitude expert, and author of "The Upside of Down Times: Discovering the Power of Gratitude" and she is featured in the documentary, "The Keeper of the Keys" with Jack Canfield, Marci Shimoff, and John Gray.

Learn more about Lisa Ryan at

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