Sunday, August 21, 2011

Success and failure

Success is never final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts

Winston Churchill

Recently, I haven’t started any new projects, and haven’t finished any old ones. I’m not writing much, and don’t have a routine. I do have a few ideas in the hopper, but nothing is rising to the top. Does that make me a failure? Maybe, but I’m not giving up. I’m just going to start again.

This week the fall semester begins. One thing I like about school is that we get to start over a few times a year, so we have more chances to get it right. I love that. A student or teacher can have the worst semester ever, and in a few months, it doesn’t matter because everything ends, and then we get a chance to begin again. Sounds kinda like life, eh?

At the beginning of every semester, I ask my oral communications students to write down their fears and goals for the class. I stress the part about CLASS, but I get a variety of students who write about other fears like spiders, bugs and heights. (I can relate to the one about heights.)

I save these sheets in my class folder, and return them on the last day of class. On that day, I announce to them that they can see how they have conquered their fears and met their goals. Every time I put a sheet on a desk, I watch the student read it and smile. I love that.

Write down your goals. Write down your fears. Every day, try to do one thing to accomplish your goals, and one thing to eliminate your fears. By the end of the week, or month, or season or year, you will have something – and it may be good. Work toward something bigger than yourself, and you will be able to realize who you are, hiding in plain sight underneath who you think you are. And don’t give up. Ever.

Write soon,



  1. Mary--

    I am a firm believer in the power of writing down one's goals. When we make them public, it makes us accountable to make sure they are achieved.

    You're right. When we're in a rut, we're not really failing, we're just in "a stall" but once we start back up again, we're in the groove once more.

  2. I like this idea of writing your fears. Twelve year old grandson today told me he was good at public speaking. Ia ksed hwt he meant and he said, "I know how to start a riot and persuade people to follow my advice." Oh my!

  3. Sioux, I recently heard the term "fail forward," and I keep that in mind when things don't work out the way I think they should. And Linda, well, I think you have a leader in the family!