Never Give Up, Just Learn and Pivot

One of my favorite motivational quotes is from Winston Churchill. Rumor has it he said this to a room full of school children.

I wish I’d been one of those kids. My life may have turned out very different.

What he said was this: “Never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, give up. Never give up. Never give up. Never give up.”

For purposes of it becoming one of my mantras I’ve shortened it to this…

Never ever ever give up.

I have it on a magnet on the side of my refrigerator. I say it in my head so often it’s part of me.

It’s really really easy, in a moment of frustration or despair or exhaustion, to just say that’s it. I’m done. I really tried but I don’t want to do this anymore. I’m going to give up this really hard shit and go back to taking an easier path.

If you read the rest of what Churchill said that day to those kids (you can Google it), this is not meant to be an absolute. Sometimes it actually is okay to give up.

You can give up on an approach, a channel, a partner, a message, a client, a vendor, a product, or a service. Sometimes you get great ideas but they don’t pan out. It happens all the time. It’s happened to me hundreds of times. You try stuff. You give it a good go, but at some point it becomes clear. It’s just not gonna work.

But the goal, the vision, is still there. The passion still burns. That is what you don’t give up on.

Never ever ever give up on your vision.

When something isn’t working, examine it in the context of a step in the journey. Just because you took that particular path and it ended up in a dead end doesn’t mean you should just turn around and go home. Find another path. Take a detour. Figure out what went wrong and learn from it and do something else that you believe will work better. Something else that will move you toward your goal. 

Never give up. Just learn and pivot.

Life is not a straight line and neither is your business. I’ve had various flavors of my business since 1998, and it’s very different today than it was back then. It has morphed and evolved in some very interesting and surprising ways over the years. I have taken breaks from it. I have given up. But I always came back. One time I spent a year working on a project that just never took off. That’s a story for another day, but at the time I felt completely defeated. I gave up on that project. I had a good long cry and then went back to my desk and started something different.

Interestingly, I still want the same things I wanted 20 years ago. I still love helping people with their technology. I still love building systems to help people grow their business. I love starting things from nothing and watching them bloom and grow.

I’ve learned what works and doesn’t work for me. And what works for me may not work for someone else. 

The groove in the record is a very personal thing. My groove sings a different song than yours. We are each simply striving for the joy of the experience in our own unique way.

Never ever ever give up. 

Examine what happened, learn what didn’t work, and make a new plan. Follow it until the next wrinkle and then do it again. There’s no end game. There’s no destination. It’s all about your personal journey.

Never ever ever give up on you.

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