I love country music songs. The lyrics often give you wisdom to go by.

Years ago, I was traveling the highway and heard country music artist Chris Ward describing a new release called “Fall Reaching.” It was a nice little song that never really gained traction. It had a neat little refrain:

If you’re gonna win, win graceful

If you’re gonna love, love faithful

If you’re gonna learn, learn by teaching

And if you’re gonna fall, fall reaching

If you want to listen, you can find it on YouTube,

The artist explained the inspiration for the song. He said he had heard a mountain climber describe being in a difficult spot in a climb. He reached a point where he wasn’t sure he was going to make it. And he had a choice: he could quit, give up and fall, or he could keep on reaching and try to complete the climb. For this climber, reaching was the choice. If falling was in his future, he was going to do it reaching, not quitting.

That inspiration has defined much of my work life since. Go big. Happen to the world. Don’t quit. Get up and go. Be intentional.

I’ve told the story frequently, and others have been inspired by it too. One of my closest friends remembered it when he was actually climbing a mountain and confronted a testing point. He kept climbing.

In this world, we face challenges. We can stay home. We can decline to act. We can lay down and quit. We can drift.

I recommend you resist those things and muster your courage and energy. Keep climbing. “If you’re going to fall, fall reaching.”