Wish I could take credit for writing this. It’s probably the most powerful thing ever written about what it takes to succeed as a Christian entrepreneur.
I don’t know if Rudyard Kipling was a believer or a businessman, but this poem, IF, nails it on both fronts.
This was first shared with me by a salty, uneducated old coot who’d bootstrapped his way to building a big, profitable business. He finally cashed out a few years ago for about a gazillion dollars. He was the last guy on earth you’d expect to whip out a book of poetry, and when he did for me, I rolled my eyes. I mean, come on, what does poetry have to do with business, especially for a red-blooded guy like me?
But wow, just wow. I’ve pulled this out and read it countless times over the past decade. It has been stunningly prophetic, encouraged me through tough times, and given me a clear perspective on the life of an entrepreneur and what is required to succeed. It’s a quick read, yet it’ll stick with you a long time. I hope it blesses you as much as it’s blessed me:
IF by Rudyard Kipling
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;
If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same:.
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build’ em up with worn-out tools;
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings,
And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!
Does any of this speak to your life experience, or what you’re going through right now? Does it encourage you? I’d love to hear from you in the comments.
— You are the salt of the world. Stay salty, my friends.