Believe in Your Success

2015-08-23 12.50.31

Pulling up to the railroad tracks…

Crossing lights off, arms up…

Each car slows down while crossing…

One car STOPS right in the middle of the tracks…

The driver looks left, looks right…


Wait, is he really stopped in the middle of the tracks to check if a train is bearing down to his impending doom?!


But then it hit me – I’ve seen this before!

How many times have you observed educators & leaders start a project only to stop in the middle to check and see if it’s all falling apart? And then, when they stop, big surprise, they were right.

What’s ironic is that if they would have only just kept going full speed, there would be more of a chance for their success than by them stopping everything and everybody to check halfway. Stopping while in motion causes a loss of momentum, frustration, and for others to lose interest. Checking progress is needed, but halting at the expense of others could pause you long enough to get run over.

Believing in your success is vital in ensuring that you will actually be successful. Consider a few key points in keeping momentum across the tracks:

Trust your instincts. 
As you come to the ‘tracks’ (problem, project, or obstacle), you are already observing everything around you. If you are a safe driver, you have already noticed if the lights are flashing. You’ve listened to hear the rumble of the train. You’ve observed if it appears safe to cross. Drivers don’t need to stop, get out of their car, and use binoculars to look down the tracks. You’ve made the decision to cross based on your instincts and prior experiences, so don’t second-guess them.

Strategy is excellent, but execution is everything.
Planning is important. In fact, we can spend many posts on this point. But execution and follow-through is absolutely necessary no matter the plan. The best plan will not be successful if you halt momentum or don’t follow through with the tasks at hand. There are many great ideas that never seem to take off and when you look back, it mostly had to do with a lack of follow-through.

Move forward.
Don’t stop. Keep going. You don’t have to speed at 100 mph, but you do need to move forward. Don’t go so slow or stop so much that the train has time to run you over. Move forward and have the confidence that you made the right decision.

The Dufour’s preach, “learning by doing,” not ‘learn by stopping.’ If you are going to gun it across the tracks, you better make sure the signals say all clear and your eyes and ears are wide open to learn as you go.

Really believe in yourself when starting your ‘next big idea’ this year. Make sure you drive a great idea, keep the pedal on the gas, take the gamble, and accept the responsibility to make it work.

I wish I knew who the driver on the tracks was. I would love to ask him his thinking…and tell him he taught me a great lesson.

Believe in your success, don’t stop in the middle of the tracks.

Posted in Leadership Analogies & Metaphors, Leadership Lessons