in Leadership

Keep Going: How To Get Up When You’re Down

It’s easy to start. First, define your project. Next, break it into steps. Finally, face your fear and begin to take those steps. But what happens when, after a few faltering steps, you fall down?

It’s easy to start. Finishing is hard.

Times of downheartedness are inescapable. Perhaps, like me, you experience a regular rhythm of high-energy output followed by discouragement. This cycle is not always caused by failure, it can be as familiar as a biorhythm. Sometimes disappointment arrives at my doorstep when I don’t perform as well as I hoped. But no matter what leads us to discouragement, the problem is the same. How can we keep going despite a heavy heart?


Life on this planet is never perfect, so my search for encouragement drives me to God. He is my source of strength when my own runs out. I ask Him for direction when my vision no longer seems clear. I read the Bible asking God for guidance. I ask Him to give me His strength when I have no energy to try another tactic. I ask Him to redirect me towards things I’ve not yet considered. Then I look for my next step.

If you are working on something exciting that you really care about, you don’t have to be pushed. The vision pulls you. — Steve Jobs

Vision is a fragile thing. It is often fleeting, and especially when we are discouraged. To recapture it,  I ask myself why I’ve chosen this path. Why did I care about this project? Why am I discouraged now? “Why?” is a powerful question. At the start, my vision was clear and motivating. Asking “Why?” can clear away the debris and let us find our vision once more.

Vision located, it may be time to adjust the plan. The best plans allow for correction along the way. If a particular tactic does not work, try another approach. The vision does not need to change just because I’ve met resistance to one initiative.

Perhaps it is time to move on to something else. Revisiting the vision, I can often discover a new project or new tactics that reignite my energy. Sometimes it takes time for perspective to return, but I won’t wait around for its return. I want to keep moving so that I am open to new ideas and opportunities.

Discouragement is common to everyone, and learning to cope is critical to our success. Those who take risks and start things are prone to discouragement. Perhaps knowing this will help you take courage when you are tempted to give up.

Do something big. Finish strong.