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Rudyard Kipling - 1865-1936​

If you can keep your head when all about you
   Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
   But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
   Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don’t give way to hating,
   And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
   If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
   And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
   Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
   And stoop and build ’em up with wornout tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
   And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
   And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
   To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
   Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on”;

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
   Or walk with kings—nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
   If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run—
   Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it!

This has been my favorite poem since my last day of high school. My favorite literature teacher gave each of us this poem tied in a ribbon. While many students unfortunately threw it away or stashed it in their backpacks, I LOVED and cherished mine. I put it in my college books and on my wall, and it has always been a source of positive affirmation for me. I now share it with every team I coach and continue to hopefully inspire others. I have never cherished a poem more. I even got "IF" tattooed on my wrist! This poem was and still is an inspiration to me. Forever thankful to Mary Shuford for this and being such a blessing of a teacher in my life!
xo Shay xo