Anyone who has been around me for any length of time will have heard me utter these words – “Keep Writing until They Take the Pen Out of your Hand!”
I qualified as a Chartered Accountant many years ago and I believe it is to that philosophy I owe my qualification.
The final exam – the FAE – involved 4 exams of 4 hours each over 4 days. To my mind 4 hours was just not enough to complete these papers and I developed this philosophy at that time. When the 4 hours were up, the Invigilator would call out “Stop Writing – Pens Down”. As I looked around the exam hall, it was clear that this instruction was honored more in the breach than the observance, so I picked up my pen and continued to write – furiously.
After a little while, one of the invigilators (great word, eh?) would pass by and repeat “Stop Writing – Pens Down”. We complied until he moved on far enough to be out of range and then we picked up our pens and continued to write – furiously.
On a good day you might get 3, even 4 passes from said invigilator before he stopped in front of you, looked at you very sternly, and took the pen from your hand.
Then you were finished with THAT exam.
I have often thought about what I wrote in those moments and more than that how on earth did the examiner read what I had written, given the furious speed at which I wrote. But I am fairly convinced it was the marks earned in those moments that got me across the line.
And that philosophy has stayed with me all my life. It is ALWAYS too soon to quit! There is always more time than you think! It is NOT OVER until they take the pen from your hand!
I have used this many times with clients and friends in tough situations, when the future looked bleak and it looked like it was all over, and it seemed like you could feel the liquidator breathing down your neck. When the news is bad and it looks like you are out of options, that is the time to keep going. Don’t stop. Keep opening up the doors until they change the locks. Keep making calls. Keep doing what you can.
One of my great questions is: “Is it impossible, or just very difficult?”
There is always hope! Doug Wead, one of my great mentors spoke about this often. There are hundreds of stories of impossible situations that were turned around, of disasters that became success stories.
I am reminded of one of my most favourite and oft relied upon verses:
“He will hold up a bent reed and protect a flickering candle. There IS always hope.
So wherever you are in life right now, Whatever challenges you are facing in whatever aspect of your life – Dont give up! Don’t quit! Keep going! Your negotiating position is ALWAYS better than you think. There is ALWAYS HOPE.
Don’t stop until they take the pen from your hand!
All the Best, Brian Maguire
PS: I look forward to your comments and can I encourage you to pass this on to anyone who might be encouraged by it.