“Success is not final, failure is not fatal;

it is the courage to continue that counts.”

Winston Churchill


This quote by Winston Churchill speaks to us as way of being in the world that we find distinguishes great leaders. As executive coaches, we have the privilege of working with many great leaders, leaders who have experienced huge successes and great failures. In fact, they often come to work with us on the heels of those successes and failures because they understand the importance of having trusted allies as they “find the courage to continue.”

It may surprise some of you that leaders seek us out on the heels of great success, but this is more common than you might imagine. Clients who come to us after success work with us to support them in pausing to reflect on their success. It’s important to understand its implications for their work, their world, and to examine the road ahead. The landscape of this new economy changes rapidly and it’s more important than ever to celebrate successes, yet not rest on them as if they are final. Great leaders shift quickly from celebration to learning from their successes and looking ahead to explore how to continue the momentum.

As you would guess, many clients also come to us on the heels of failure, but not necessarily in the way you might expect either. Seeking coaching in the face of failure is, in itself, an act of competence and an act of great success. Clients who come to us after failure are moving forward, taking action to understand what occurred, why it occurred, and how to better predict issues in the future so they can create success again.

In both cases, they are coming to us to help them sustain (and sometimes muster) the courage to continue.

This week, think about your successes and failures and what has helped you muster the courage to continue. As a leader—in your life and your work—be sure you have allies you can rely on when you most need them.