Primary Blog/"IF" and only if...

"IF" and only if...

Monday, November 07, 2022

"In order to succeed greatly, you have to be prepared to fail greatly.  If you can't do both of them, you've got a problem."

--Mike Tyson

I don't generally look to Mike Tyson as a source of wisdom ... but that quote really speaks to a deep truth.

Most things that are worth something cost something.   In order to succeed you have to take a chance that you may lose something.  Money, opportunity, time, status, relationship, etc.

Do you want more for your life and for those you love?

Are you willing to take the risks necessary to achieve what you want to?

These are important questions to ponder... for there is always a cost.

I think one of the important considerations is to weigh the potential upside against the potential downside.  (And I would add, I think it's more important to make sure you're willing to accept the downside than to look at the possible upside.)  Is it worth it?

When I was a young man, my father introduced me to the poem "IF" by Rudyard Kipling.  At the time, I wasn't really sure what Dad was getting at by having me read that poem.  I understood I was not getting all that I should, and I knew there was more for me to glean from it.

Now, as I reread those lines, I can almost hear my Dad's voice telling me, "Now you're getting it, Johnny!"

Leadership is about risk … but NOT ONLY about taking risk … It's also about managing risk, and choosing the appropriate amount of risk to expose yourself and others to.

Leadership is about believing in yourself and what you're doing … even when others are doubting you.

Leadership is about being steady through the ups and downs of life's joys and sorrows. Understanding that moments are temporary. Circumstances can and will change … quickly.

Leadership is about getting off the fence and into the arena to participate fully. It's about giving it your all … even if there seems to be "no point" in continuing on. (And also knowing when you shouldn't continue … even if you appear to be succeeding.) 

Leadership is about being who YOU are no matter who you're with. Whether you're with influential people who can help you, or with those who cannot help you at all. Are you the same in all situations? Or are you a chameleon?

Leadership is striving to have the discipline to "fill the unforgiving minute with sixty seconds worth of distance run", using time wisely; fully utilizing opportunities while you can and to your benefit.

I can imagine in my mind's eye Dad looking intently at me and quoting, "Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it, And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!"

If and only if …

In life and in business, academics, athletic achievement, etc., we get measured by our results. What do you produce? This is very important to understand.


Even More Importantly, Life Is About WHO YOU ARE.

What comes out of you when life gets hard?

Are you a poor loser?  Are you unsteady during hard times?

Are you a bad winner? Do you become arrogant or haughty?

CAN YOU CONTINUE TO BE YOU WHEN THE GOING GETS HARD?? Or do you turn into someone who does or says things you are ashamed to admit later?

Do people worry about coming to you with things because they can never be sure which "version of you" they may run into today?  Or are you steady in your emotions and able to keep the problem separate from the person?

These principles apply to not only leadership, they also apply to (and I believe Kipling meant it to be for) healthy, well-adjusted human beings.

Please read the poem below. Look at each phrase and see how it applies to situations all around you.  I think you'll be encouraged AND challenged. 

I miss my father.  He was an incredible man, leader, and most important of all for me...he was my Dad. 

He shared many lessons with us throughout the everyday life circumstances we found ourselves in.  Often times my siblings and I will ponder "what Dad said" when dealing with issues.

Many of his words of wisdom are only now revealing their worth to us.

I often reread this poem and think about what it means.

… I'm still working on it, Dad. But it is becoming clearer each year.

Thank you.

Blessings and Strength!


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!

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Dad teaching me how to catch rainbow trout.  
Photo taken above the log jam between Mystic and Island Lake in the Beartooth Mountain Wilderness of Montana circa 1977.

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Hi, I'm John koeshall

Founder of EmpowerU360

My goal is to equip you to avoid problems if at all possible ... or effectively deal with them if absolutely necessary.

It is my sincerest hope that you will JOIN ME on my mission to Liberate all those that we can.

Together We Are Liberation Nation!

"None of Us Lives For Themselves."