Vail Valley: We need courage in these tough times |

Vail Valley: We need courage in these tough times

Michael Kurz
Vail, CO, Colorado

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”

” Winston Churchill

Regular readers of my column for the Vail Valley Partnership know that I’m a fan of enduring, eloquent quotations. Though they are the sound bites of literature and often used out of context for nefarious purposes, those that interest us, or convey a particular thought that resonates, often lead to a more in-depth search for the complete meaning the author or speaker has attempted to convey and we usually learn something.

What I’d like you to learn from the attributions cited here is that what’s going on around us, in our microcosmic “happy valley” business world, is going to require a load of personal and professional courage.

Decreased or disappearing margins, people losing their jobs, personal and career sacrifices, truncated plans from cautionary spending, it’s all come home to roost here in our isolated, sheltered, high-country laps, giving us lots of reasons to feel sorry for ourselves, gripe, moan and sob.

So why is an enterprise Pollyana like me acknowledging the presence of the “dark side?” Well, it’s for the same reason people climb a mountain… because it’s there. It’s there for all of us. Those who are worried, those who aren’t, those who are winning in these hard times and those who have had major setbacks. But, win or lose, there’s one thing we all need before we can get out of bed in the morning.


Courage to persist. Courage to take the circumstances we’re in and make them better. Courage to admit our mistakes, acknowledge bad luck, learn from the experience and get on with it.

Do you have the courage to look a friend or long-time employee in the eye and tell them you can’t keep them employed? Do you have the courage to call your mate and say, “I’ve been laid off?” Do you have the courage to cancel an order though you know you’ll probably ruin a long-term vendor relationship? Do you have the courage to admit the failure of a bad business plan?

I hope so. Because when it gets tough, when it gets dark, when it gets lonesome and when it gets hard, you’ve got to face the man in the mirror and do the hard things.

Some people I really admire are having a difficult time right now and when I talk to them, I know why I really admire them. They are very brave. Not necessarily throw yourself on a grenade to save your buddies brave, but possessed of the kind of courage that shines like the soft glow of old armor around them. They are doing the hard things every day and are as determined and motivated to succeed as ever.

My parents had it tough. Their parents had it tougher and I can’t imagine what their parents before them faced, part of a boatload of seasick, scared immigrants crossing the Atlantic.

Many of us have it tough, too, but I hope we can find the courage to see this stuff for what it is, appreciate the fact that this country will give us more than a fair chance to recover and hang on. In the great scheme of things this is a blip. I hope we can all summon and maintain the intestinal fortitude to see it that way and act accordingly.

“Courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyway.”

” John Wayne

Michael Kurz is president and CEO of the Vail Valley Partnership.

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