Success and The Unforgiving Minute

If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With 60 seconds worth of distance run

Rudyard Kipling, “If”

Lately, I’ve been riffing off of Rudyard Kipling’s monumental poem, “If,” both in the context of pushing through tough times, and in the context of it being a roadmap for success. I have used it to explain why, in the grand scheme of things, a speed bump in the road to success doesn’t matter.

Lately I’ve also been journaling the end of a summer of changes around Casa StandUpRight, and ol’ Andrew’s life, which came to a head last week with our final vacation at my parents’ cottage.

In the end, the changes thrust upon me forced me to prioritize my time this summer in ways I’ve never had to before. I have a bunch of goals; short, medium and long term, which I’ve been working on, but there was also the issues surrounding my family.

With the Kung Flu cancelling pretty much all kids’ activities, my wife and I had to be the sole source of entertainment for the boys’ summer vacation. The downstream effects of that meant I had less time. Less time for:

  • Exercise
  • Blogging
  • Market research for my podcast
  • High touch research for my remote working course
  • Building out content in my mobile app
  • Brand building on LinkedIn

None of which even touches the lost time with my wife, or the solo time necessary for my own peace of mind.

So I guess what I’m saying is that, looking back over the summer and viewing it through a success filter, it was a disaster. Total failure. Right?


Go back to those two lines of Kipling:

If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With 60 seconds worth of distance run

In no way am I claiming that I accomplished even ½ of what I had hoped to accomplish. But I am claiming that the summer was a resounding success.

I filled those minutes “with 60 seconds worth of distances run,” because, while the side business end of my life didn’t get anywhere near where I wanted, on the other hand, I did:

  • Get some of my research done
  • Build out some of my mobile app
  • Continue to research, and write for this little blog

And, what’s more, on the personal side:

  • My children and I are closer than we’ve ever been.
  • My wife and I are better and happier than we’ve ever been.
  • I’m still in great shape.
  • I’m running again.
  • My blood pressure is normal for the first time in 27 years.

That last one alone constitutes a resounding success. My family has a history of hypertension, and my doctor was worried I was going to need meds for it. Not today, Satan.

So, when you’re looking back at the goals you set, and measuring them against what you’ve actually accomplished, make sure that you’re including all the factors. You need a wider perspective than just, “I set a goal. I didn’t make it. I failed.

So, yes, I filled those unforgiving minutes, and I filled them well. There simply weren’t enough of them.