The phrase “stay the course” can be interpreted in a couple of ways. One is to remain focus on your goals and passions. Another is to be invested deeply in the status quo. The course of one’s career does not need to move in a straight line. Consider if you will, the lives of some people who changed the world. Their lives were far from traditional and the effect that they had on society was significant.
- Walt Disney was fired by a newspaper editor because he lacked imagination and had no good ideas.
- Thomas Edison was told by his teachers that he was too stupid to learn anything. He was fired from his first two jobs for not being productive enough and had thousands of failed inventions.
- Abraham Lincoln went to war as a captain and returned a private, followed by many failed businesses and lost elections.
- Soichiro Honda was turned down by for an engineering job by Toyota Motor Corporation prior to starting Honda by making scooters in his garage.
- Henry Ford went bankrupt five times before he founded Ford Motor Company.
The characteristic shared by these people is that they took chances and were not discouraged by the failures they experienced. They learned from their mistakes and never stopped trying new things. Their moves were bold and many others at the time considered them reckless.
"Our greatest glory is not in never falling but in rising every time we fall." Confucius
In the world of work, flexibility and perseverance are traits demanded by today’s market. Recent college graduates expect to change jobs multiple times during their careers. Surfing the internet for facts and opinions has conditioned the minds of many young people to the concept that there is a plurality of ideas.
Many baby boomers have been schooled in the idea that if they worked hard, the company would reward them. The recent business environment has proven that this is not necessarily the case. What is important is the value that you can bring to a problem. What you have done in the past is history, but what you will do in the future is what will be evaluated on. Successes or failures are the stepping stones to your next opportunity to make a difference. The intellectual edge comes from your experiences and ideas. Cultivating relationships and honoring your curiosity creates the interconnectedness to help you identify your next opportunity.