Encouragement poems for entrepreneur motivation

Here's a month of encouragement poems on this page... inspirational and motivational poems to motivate the entrepreneur. Why? Because encouraging poetry helps me cope with the ups and downs of being an entrepreneur.

Some of the poems I've found aren't actually about business, but are instead "encouragement poems". They're mostly from the "old days", from the 1930s and earlier.


June 1

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you're trudging seems all up-hill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest, if you must, but don't you quit.

Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about
When he might have won had he stuck it out;
Don't give up, though the pace seems slow-
You may succeed with another blow.

Success is failure turned inside out-
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems far;
So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit-
It's when things seem worst that you mustn't quit.

Anonymous

June 2

I have hoped, I have planned, I have striven,
To the will I have added the deed;
The best that was in me I've given,
I have prayed, but the Gods would not heed.

I have dared and reached only disaster,
I have battled and broken my lance;
I am bruised by a pitiless master
That the weak and the timid call Chance.

I am old, I am bent, I am cheated
Of all that Youth urged me to win;
But name me not with the defeated,
To-morrow again, I begin.

S. E. Kiser

June 3

The proudest motto for the young!
Write it in lines of gold
Upon thy heart, and in thy mind
The stirring words enfold;

And in misfortunes dreary hour,
Or fortunes prosperous gale,
'Twill have a holy, cheering power...
"There's no such word as fail."

Anonymous

June 4

Can't is the worst word that's written or spoken
Doing more harm here than slander and lies;
On it is many a strong spirit broken,
And with it many a good purpose dies.
It springs from the lips of the thoughtless each morning
And robs us of courage we need through the day:
It rings in our ears like a timely-sent warning
And laughs when we falter and fall by the way.

Can't is the father of feeble endeaver,
The parent of terror and half-hearted work;
It weakens the efforts of artisans clever,
And makes of the toiler an indolent shirk.
It poisons the soul of the man with a vision,
It stifles in infancy many a plan;
It greets honest toiling with open derision
And mocks at the hopes and the dreams of a man.

Can't is a word none should speak without blushing;
To utter it should be a symbol of shame;
Ambition and courage it daily is crushing;
It blights a man's purpose and shortens his aim.
Despise it with all of your hatred of error;
Refuse it the lodgment it seeks in your brain;
Arm against it as a creature of terror,
And all that you dream of you some day shall gain.

Can't is the word that is foe to ambition,
An enemy ambushed to shatter your will;
Its prey is forever the man with a mission
And bows but to courage and patience and skill.
Hate it, with hatred that's deep and undying,
For once it is welcomed 'twill break any man;
Whatever the goal you are seeking, keep trying
And answer this demon by saying: “I can.”

June 5

Okay, I know this technically isn't an encouragement poem. Oh well. I think it sums up what bootstrapping a business is all about.

You want success. Are you willing to pay the price for it?
How much discouragement can you stand?
How much bruising can you take?

How long can you hang on in the face of obstacles?
Have you the grit to try to do what others failed to do?
Have you the nerve to attempt things that the average person would never dream of tackling?

Have you the persistence to keep on trying after repeated failures?
Can you cut out luxuries and do without things that others consider necessities?
Can you go up against skepticism, ridicule, friendly advice to quit, without flinching?

Can you keep your mind steadily on the single object you are pursuing, resisting all temptations to divide your attention?
Are you strong on the finish as well as quick on the start?
Success is sold in the open market. You can buy it- anyone can buy it who is willing to pay the price.

From the 1932 book, Three Tony's Scrap Books, by Tony Won

June 6

'Tis not by wishing that we gain the prize,
Nor yet by ruing,
But from our falling, learning to rise,
And tireless doing.

The idols broken, nor our tears and sighs,
May yet restore them.
Regret is only for fools; the wise
Look but before them.

Nor ever yet Success was wooed with tears;
To notes of gladness
Alone the fickle goddess turns her ears,
She hears not sadness.

Look not behind the: there is only dust
And vain regretting.
The lost tide ebbs; in the next flood thou must
Learn, by forgetting.

For the lost chances be ye not distressed
To endless weeping;
Be not the thrush that o'er the empty nest
Is vigil keeping.

But in new efforts our regrets today
To stillness whiling
Let us in some pure purpose find the way
To future smiling.

James W. Foley

June 7

In an old city by the storied shores
Where the bright summit of Olympus soars
,A cryptic statue mounted towards the light-
Heel-winged, tip-toed and poised for instant flight.

“O statue, tell your name,” a traveler cried,
And solemnly the marble lips replied;
“Men call me Opportunity: I lift
My winged feet from earth to show how swift
My flight, how short my stay-
How Fate is ever waiting on the way.”

“But why that tossing ringlet on your brow?”
“That men may seize me any moment” Now,
NOW is my other name: to-day my date:
O traveler, to-morrow is too late!”

Edwin Markham

June 8

Okay, this week's encouragement poems were all written by Edgar Guest, like I either promised or warned you. I like his poetry, but it has a definite "old-time" flavor to it. These are all from his book, It Takes A Heap O' Livin'. copyright 1916. Hope you enjoy these!

No one is beat till he quits,
No one is through till he stops,
No matter how hard Failure hits,
No matter how often he drops,
A fellow's not down till he lies
In the dust and refuses to rise.

Fate can slam him and bang him around,
And batter his frame till he's sore,
But he never can say that he's downed
While he bobs serenely for more.
A fellow's not dead till he dies,
Nor beat till no longer he tries.

Edgar Guest

June 9

I'm not the chap to say that failure's sweet,
Nor tell a chap to laugh when things go wrong;
I know it hurts to have to take defeat
An' no one likes to lose before a throng;
It isn't very pleasant not to win
When you have done the very best you could;
But if you're down, get up an' buckle in-
A lickin' often does a fellow good.

I've seen some chaps who never knew their power
Until somebody knocked 'em to the floor;
I've known men who discovered in an hour
A courage they had never known before,
I've seen 'em rise from failure to the top
By doin' things they hadn't understood
Before the day disaster made 'em drop-
A lickin' often does a fellow good.

Success is not the teacher, wise an' true,
That gruff old failure is, remember you;
She's much too apt to make a fool of you,
Which isn't true of blows that knock you flat.
Hard knocks are painful things an' hard to bear,
An' most of us would dodge 'em if we could;
There's something mighty broadening in care-
A lickin' often does a fellow good.

June 10

'Tis better to have tried in vain,
Sincerely striving for a goal,
Than to have lived upon the plain
An idle and a timid soul.

'Tis better to have fought and spent
Your courage, missing all applause,
Then to have lived in smug content
And never ventured for a cause.

For he who tires and fails may be
The founder of a better day;
Though never his the victory,
From him shall others learn the way.

June 11

**Just a quick note- not so long ago, the word "gay" meant happy or carefree. I don't know why the definition changed.

It's the dull road that leads to the gay road;
The practice that leads to success;
The work road that leads to the play road;
It is trouble that breeds happiness.

It's the hard work and merciless grinding
That purchases glory and fame;
It's repeatedly doing, nor minding
The drudgery drear of the game.

It's the passing up glamour or pleasure
For the sake of the skill we may gain,
And in giving up comfort or leisure
For the joy that we hope to attain.

It's the hard road of trying and learning,
Of toiling, uncheered and alone,
That wins us the prizes worth earning,
And leads to goals we would own.

June 12

You don't begrudge the labor when the roses start to bloom;
You don't recall the dreary days that won you their perfume;
You don't recall a single care
You spent upon the garden there;
And all the toil
Of tilling soil
Is quite forgot the day the first
Pink rosebuds into beauty burst.

You don't begrudge the trials grim when joy has come to you;
You don't recall the dreary days when all you skys are blue;
And though you've trod a weary mile
The ache of it was all worth while;
And all the stings
And bitter flings
Are wiped away upon the day
Success comes dancing down the way.

June 13

To do your little bit of toil,
To play life's game wit head erect;
To stoop to nothing that would soil
Your honor or your self-respect;
To win what gold and fame you can,
But first of all to be a man.

To know the bitter and the sweet,
The sunshine and the days of rain;
To meet both victory and defeat,
Nor boast to loudly or complain;
To face whatever fates befall
And be a man throughout it all.

To seek success in honest strife,
But not to value it so much
That, winning it, you go throught life
Stained by dishonor's scarlet touch.
What goal or dream you choose, pursue,
But be a man whate'er you do!

June 14

One day, in ages dark and dim,
A toiler, weary, worn and faint,
Who found his task too much for him,
Gave voice unto a sad complaing.
And seeking emphasis to give
Upon his trials (day ill-starred!)
Coupled to “work” this adjective,
This little word of terror: Hard.

And from that day to this has work
Its frightening description worn;
'Tis spoken daily by the shirk,
The first cloud on the sky at morn.
Today when there are tasks to do,
Save that we keep ourselves on guard
With fearful doubtings them we view,
And think and speak of them as hard.

That little but ill-chosen word
Has wrought great havoc with men's souls,
Has chilled the hearts ambition stirred
And held the pass to splendid goals.
Great dreams have faded and been lost,
Fine youth by it been sadly marred
As plants beneath a withering frost,
Because men thought and whispered: Hard.

Let's think of work in terms of hope
And speak of it with words of praise,
And tell the joy it is to grope
Along the new, untrodden ways!
Let's break this habit of despair
And cheerfully our task regard;
The road to happiness lies there;
Why think or speak of it as hard?

June 15

It may be that you cannot stay
To lend a friendly hand to him
Who stumbles on the slippery way,
Pressed by conditions hard and grim;
It may be that you dare not heed
His call for help, because you lack
The strength to lift him, but you need
Not push him back.

It may be that he has not won
The right to hope for your regard;
He may in folly have begun
The course that he has found so hard;
It may be that your fingers bleed,
That Fortune turns a bitter frown
Upon your efforts, but you need
Not kick him down.

S. E. Kiser

June 16

If you want a thing bad enough
to go out and fight for it,
Work day and night for it,
Give up your time and your peace and your sleep for it
If only desire of it
Makes you quite mad enough
Never to tire of it,
Makes you hold all other things tawdry and cheap for it
If life seems all empty and useless without it
And all that you scheme and dream is about it,
If gladly you'll sweat for it,
Fret for it,
Plan for it,
Lose all your terror of God and man for it,
If you'll simply go after that thing that you want,
With all your capacity,
Strength and sagacity,
Faith, hope and confidence, stern pertinacity,
If neither cold poverty, famished or gaunt,
Nor sickness nor pain
Of body or brain
Can turn you away from the thing that you want
If dogged and grim you besiege and beset it,
You'll get it!

Berton Braley

June 17

If the day looks kinder gloomy
And your chances kinder slim,
If the situation's puzzlin'
And the prospect's awful grim,
If perplexities keep pressin'
Till hope is nearly gone,
Just bristle up and grit your teeth
And keep on keepin' on.

Frettin' never wins a fight
And fumin' never pays;
There ain't no use in broodin'
In these pessimistic ways;
Smile just kinder cheerfully
Though hope is nearly gone,
And bristle up and grit your teeth
And keep on keepin' on.

There ain't no use in growlin'
And grumblin' all the time,
When music's ringin' everywhere
And everything's a rhyme.
Just keep on smilin' cheerfully
If hope is nearly gone,
And bristle up and grit your teeth
And keep on keepin' on.

Anonymous

June 18

Lose the day loitering, 'twill be the same story
Tomorrow, and the next more dilatory,
For indecision brings its own delays,
And days are lost lamenting o'er lost days.
Are you in earnest? Seize this very minute!
What you can do, or think you can, begin it!
Only engage, and then the mind grows heated;
Begin it, and the work will be completed.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

June 19

With doubt and dismay you are smitten-
you think there's no chance for you, son?
Why the best books haven't been written
the best race hasn't been run,
The best score hasn't been made yet,
the best song hasn't been sung,
The best tune hasn't been played yet,
Cheer up, for the world is young!

No chance? Why the world is just eager
for things that you ought to create
Its store of true wealth is still meager
its needs are incessant and great,
It yearns for more power and beauty
more laughter and love and romance,
More loyalty, labor and duty,
No chance- why there's nothing but chance!

For the best verse hasn't been rhymed yet,
The best house hasn't been planned,
The highest peak hasn't been climbed yet,
the mightiest rivers aren't spanned,
Don't worry and fret, faint hearted,
the chances have just begun,
For the best jobs haven't been started,
the best work hasn't been done.

Berton Braley

June 20

They do me wrong who say I come no more
When once I knock and fail to find you in;
For every day I stand outside your door,
And bid you wake, and rise to fight and win.

Wail not for precious chances passed away,
Weep not for golden ages on the want!
Each night I burn the records of the day,
At sunrise every soul is born again!

Laugh like a child at splendors that have sped,
To vanished joys be blind and deaf and dumb;
My judgements seal the dead past with its dead,
But never bind a moment yet to come.

Though deep in mire, wring not your hands and weep;
I lend my arm to all who say “I can!”
No shame-faced outcast ever sank so deep,
But might rise and be again a man!

Dost thou behold thy lost youth all aghast?
Dost reel from righteous Retribution's blow?
Then turn from blotted archives of the past,
And find the future's pages white as snow.

Art thou a mourner? Rouse thee from thy spell;
Art thou a sinner? Sins may be forgiven;
Each morning gives thee wings to flee from hell,
Each night a star to guide thy feet to heaven.

Walter Malone

June 21

Say not the struggle nought availeth,
The labor and the wounds are vain,
The enemy faints not, nor faileth,
And as things have been they remain.

If hopes were dupes, fears may be liars;
It may be, in yon smoke conceal'd,
Your comrades chase e'en now the fliers,
And, but for you, posess the field.

For, while the tired waves, vainly breaking,
Seem here no painful inch to gain,
Far back, through creeks and inlets making,
Comes silent, flooding in, the main.

And not by eastern windows only,
When daylight comes, comes in the light,
In front, the sun climbs slow, how slowly,
But westward, look, the land is bright.

Arthur Hugh Clough

June 22

I warned about the "folksy" tone some of these old poems use... this one has it in spades! A dialect like this is good read out loud. Good luck!

Ef you strike a thorn or rose,
Keep a-goin'!
Ef it hails, or ef it snows,
Keep a-goin'!
'Taint no use to sit an' whine,
When the fish ain't on yer line;
Bait yer hook an' keep a-tryin'-
Keep a-goin'!

When the weather kills yer crop,
Keep a-goin'!
When you tumble from the top,
Keep a-goin'!
S'pose you're out of every dime,
Bein' so ain't any crime;
Tell the world you're feelin' prime-
Keep a-goin'!

When it looks like all is up,
Keep a-goin'!
Drain the sweetness from the cup,
Keep a-goin'!
See the wild birds on the wing,
Hear the bells that sweetly ring,
When you feel like sighin' sing-
Keep a-goin'!

Frank L. Stanton

June 23

We know how rough the road will be,
How heavy here the load will be,
We know about the barricades that wait along the track;
But we have set our soul ahead
Upon a certain goal ahead
And nothing left from Hell to sky shall ever turn us back.

We know how brief all fame must be,
We know how crude the game must be,
We know how soon the cheering turns to jeering down the block;
But there's a deeper feeling here
That Fate can't scatter reeling here,
In knowing we have battled with the final ounce in stock.

We sing of no wild glory now,
Emblazoning some story now
Of mighty charges down the field beyond some guarded pit;
But humbler tasks befalling us,
Set duties that are calling us,
Where nothing left from Hell to sky shall ever make us quit.

Grantland Rice

June 24

How do you tackle your work each day?
Are you scared of the job you find?
Do you grapple the task that comes your way
With a confident, easy mind?
Do you stand right up to the work ahead
Or fearfully pause to view it?
Do you start to toil with a sense of dread
Or feel that you're going to do it?

You can do as much as you think you can,
But you'll never accomplish more;
If you're afraid of yourself, young man,
There's little help for you in store,
For failure comes from the inside first,
It's there if we only knew it,
And you can win, though you fear the worst,
IF you feel that you're going to do it.

Success! It's found in the soul of you,
And not in the realm of luck!
The world will furnish the work to do,
But you must provide the pluck.
You can do whatever you think you can,
It's all in the way you view it.
It's all in the start you make, young man:
You must feel that you're going to do it.

How do you tackle your work each day?
With confidence clear, or dread?
What to yourself do you stop and say?
When a new task lies ahead?
What is the thought that is in your mind?
Is fear ever running through it?
If so, just tackle the next you find
By thinking you're going to do it.

Edgar Guest

June 25

Master of human destines am I!
Fame, love, and fortune on my doorsteps wait.
Cities and fields I walk; I penetrate
Deserts and seas remote, and passing by
Hovel and mart and palace- soon or late
I knock, unbidden, once at every gate!
If sleeping, wake- if feasting, rise before
I turn away. It is the hour of fate
And they who follow me reach every state
Mortals desire, and conquer every foe
Save death; but those who doubt or hesitate,
Condemned to failure, penury, and woe,
Seek me in vain and uselessly implore.
I answer not, and I return no more!

John James Ingalls

June 26

There is a tide in the affairs of men,
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
On such a full sea are we now afloat;
And we must take the current when it serves,
Or lose our ventures.

William Shakespeare

June 27

Okay. Here's some more of that "folksy" stuff. Don't blame me for the goofy spelling- that's how it was written by the author. Reading it aloud makes it easier to understand.

I allus argy that a man
Who does about the best he can
Is plenty good enough to suit
This lower mundane institute-
No matter ef his daily walk
Is subject fer his neghbor's talk,
And critic-minds of ev'ry whim
Jest all git up and go fer him!

It's natchurl enugh, I guess,
When some gits more and some gits less,
Fer them-uns on the slimmest side
To claim it ain't a fare divide;
And I've knowed some to lay and wait,
And git up soon, and set up late,
To ketch some feller they could hate
For goin' at a faster gait.

My doctern is to lay aside
Contensions, and be satisfied:
Jest do your best, and praise er blame
That follers that, counts jest the same.
I've allus noticed grate success
Is mixed with troubles, more er less,
And it's the man who does the best
That gits more kicks than all the rest.

James Whitcomb Riley

June 28

When you're up against a trouble,
Meet it squarely, face to face;
Lift your chin and set your shoulders,
Plant your feet and take a brace.
When it's vaint to try to dodge it,
Do the best that you can do;
You may fail, but you may conquer,
See it through!

Black may be the clouds about you
And your future may seem grim,
But don't let your nerve desert you;
Keep yourself in fighting trim.
If the worse is bound to happen,
Spite of all that you can do,
Running from it will not save you,
See it through!

Even hope may seem but futile,
When with troubles you're beset,
But remember you are facing
Just what other men have met.
You may fail, but fail still fighting;
Don't give up, whate'er you do;
Eyes front, head high to the finish.
See it through!

Edgar Guest

June 29

Let me but do my work from day to day,
In field or forest, at the desk or loom,
In roaring market-place or tranquil room;
Let me but find it in my heart to say,
When vagrant wishes beckon me astray,
“This is my work; my blessing, not my doom:
Of all who live, I am the one by whom
This work can best be done in the right way.”

Then shall I see it not too great, nor small,
To suit my spirit and to prove my powers;
Then shall I cheerful greet the laboring hours,
And cheerful turn, when the long shadows fall
At eventide, to play and love and rest,
Because I know for me my work is best.

Henry Van Dyke

June 30

Start where you stand and never mind the past,
The past won't help you in beginning new,
If you have left it all behind at last,
Why, that's enough, you're done with it, you're through;
This is another chapter in the book,
This is another race that you have planned,
Don't give the vanished days a backward look,
Start where you stand.

The world won't care about your old defeats
If you can start anew and win success,
The future is your time, and time is fleet
And there is much of work and strain and stress;
Forget the buried woes and dead despairs,
Here is a brand new trial right at hand,
The future is for him who does and dares,
Start where you stand.

Old failures will not halt, old triumphs aid,
Today's the thing, tomorrow soon will be;
Get in the fight and face it unafraid,
And leave the past to ancient history;
What has been has been, yesterday is dead
And by it your are neither blessed or banned,
Take courage, man, be brave and drive ahead,
Start where you stand.

Berton Braley

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