“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.”
I got reacquainted with this quote after reading Brene’ Brown’s Brave the Wilderness and Dare to Lead. When things are not going as I had planned in life I often turn to Brene’s work to ground me and bring me back to my purpose and peace. As an educational leader it I not easy navigating the waters of this leadership choice with the explosion of weaponizing words and rocket launching them in social media a school leaders job has become ever more complex. I have learned through failing forward that the antidote to the affects of this is to remind yourself you don’t have to take feedback from the cheapseats as Brene’s would say. If they are not in the arena with you then don’t let it get you down. Those of us who are willing to take the big risks in any field whether it is non-profit or for-profit business those risks often come with big failure. Having the strength to pick yourself up and try again is the test of true character. None of us are infallible but I have learned that sticking with those who allow me to belong even when I fail and are willing to give me the feedback I need to grow and fail forward are the people you need in your life. You don’t need those who live in glass houses and throw stones. Those critics really don’t count. We can all sleep well at night knowing we did the moral and ethical thing by trying, working hard, and having innovative and creative ideas even if those that are in the audience don’t see the beauty in them, yet. Those of you that are daring greatly, keep it up. One day you will see high achievement. Your causes are worthy.