What If

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As published on LinkedIn Influencers on November 7th, 2019.

I don’t remember who first told me about the poem “If” by Rudyard Kipling, but it was when I was in high school, some 40 odd years ago. Soon after I typed it out on my typewriter, I folded it neatly and carried it around in my wallet. Every home I have lived in, every office I have worked in, I have had this poem somewhere on the bulletin board. It remains my go to poem to this day. It is who I aspire to be in this world.

Why am I posting this today? Because over the past few weeks I have been re-entering the world post my gap year of sorts. It feels like a new beginning. A new chapter. And front and center is not only WHAT I will be doing, but HOW I will be doing it. The below is a great framework for the how.

Calm. Kind. Confident. Patient. Honest. Humble. Grateful. Thoughtful. Risk-taking. Reflective. Resilient. Generous. Inclusive.

Enjoy.

If – By Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936)

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 wornout 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 (Woman/Person) , my son (Daughter/Child)*!

* My Additions

If you have a favorite poem please share. Have a great day.