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The #1 Requirement to win: You need to "quell the storm and ride the thunder."

Let's face it, we have all considered the risk/reward of trying or not trying. We have all calculated whether or not the risk was worth the reward. This is how we grow. We grow not by doing the same things over and over again, but by stretching ourselves in a very intentional way. This is something we simply do.

I was touched when I discovered this concept presented by Brene Brown in her book entitled "Daring Greatly." I mentioned this one as a book that has made me over the past year in my last blog. The title of her book was inspired by a speech from one of my favorite U.S. Presidents Theodore (T.R. or Teddy) Roosevelt. T.R. served as our President from 1901-1909. Yes, that was more than 100 years ago. On April 23, 1910 T.R. presented a speech entitled "The Man in the Arena: Citizenship in a Republic." Even though the speech was presented in a different era (pre-internet and lap tops) his words still remain true today. Human nature is human nature. I recommend you "Google" search this iconic speech and consider the wisdom in the words penned there. I am confident it will impact you directly.

In T.R.'s inspiring speech delivered at the Sorbonne in Paris France he provides a testament to the men and women in our lives that despite fear step up in the arena and participate in life. Here is a portion of his speech:

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat. Shame on the man of cultivated taste who permits refinement to develop into fastidiousness that unfits him for doing the rough work of a workaday world. Among the free peoples who govern themselves there is but a small field of usefulness open for the men of cloistered life who shrink from contact with their fellows. Still less room is there for those who deride the slight of what is done by those who actually bear the brunt of the day; nor yet for others who always profess that they would like to take action, if only the conditions of life were not exactly what they actually are. The man who does nothing cuts the same sordid figure in the pages of history, whether he be a cynic, or fop, or voluptuary. There is little use for the being whose tepid soul knows nothing of great and generous emotion, of the high pride, the stern belief, the lofty enthusiasm, of the men who quell the storm and ride the thunder. Well for these men if they succeed; well also, though not so well, if they fail, given only that they have nobly ventured, and have put forth all their heath and strength. It is war-worn Hotspur, spent with hard fighting, he of the many errors and valiant end, over whose memory we love to linger, not over the memory of the young lord who “but for the vile guns would have been a valiant soldier.”"

Recently I was visiting with a local successful business entrepreneur in Paducah Kentucky. In our discussion of what makes a businessman a success he shared with me that that to be successful in business you have to get comfortable being uncomfortable. You just have to get over it. In order to grow your business you have to be okay with being uncomfortable. Does this sound familiar? What he was saying was you need to "Quell the storm and ride the thunder." You have to be willing to step inside the arena, even when you are not feeling it. This business prodigy also said something else that inspired me. "You have to keep swinging. You are going to fail, but you have to keep swinging." This got me to thinking. Is it better to strikeout than to not go into the game?

Think about it. If you and I don't get into the arena or step up to the plate, we are not going to win. Can we agree on that? If you try, you may win. Even if you do not win, you learn from the experience and grow from it. Yes, you failed. That happens to all of us, that try. It has also been said that we learn more from failure than we do from winning. Hence, there is intrinsic value in failing. But to fail, we must first be willing to try. To crawl through the ropes into the arena which we call life. The step up and play our part. To get comfortable in the uncomfortable. "To quell the storm and ride the thunder."

Taking this concept one step further. Sometimes we choose not to try, because we are fearful that we will not be successful. That decision seals our fate into one of life's laws. There are a few guarantees in life. One natural guarantee is that you are surely not going to win, if you do not play the game. So in essence, we seal our own fate to what we attempted to prevent. In order to save ourselves from defeat, rejection, or failure, we deliberately choose to defeat ourselves by not participating in what we wanted to to try. Think back to your childhood board games. How about "Monopoly?" Did you win when you played? Maybe sometimes, but not every time (unless you truly embraced cheating every time). One thing is for sure, you never would have won one time, if you never played the game.

I want to thank all of you you who have opted to climb through the ropes in the arena. To play your part in making our world a better place. It is scary out there and very uncomfortable. I want to thank each of you for your courage. I also want to encourage you all to continue climbing into the arena, even when you feel the fear. As both President Theodore Roosevelt and Brene Brown stated so aptly: continue to dare greatly.

Here we grow!

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