If you visit our facility in Troy, Virginia, you may notice some of our employees wearing a decal on the back of their helmet with the words “Onward & Upward”. These little blue, gray, and white decals are begining to pop up all over the place here. When Peter van der Linde, our company’s owner, was recently asked about the meaning of “Onward & Upward”, he had this to say:
“Onward and Upward” – Slogan or words to live by?
Who of you reading this has not experienced adversity, setback, even failure? Experiencing adversity may be the only rule there are no exceptions to. It just goes with life. It has been said that it is not what happens to you in life, but how you respond to it. Therein lies the meaning of onward and upward.
Just as you have in your lives, this company has experienced adversity since its inception, life threatening at times. You may have heard the statement, “build it and they will come.” We built it in late 2008 and nobody came. Around that same time, there were other negative forces that were determined to end the company’s existence despite our best efforts. Keeping the boat afloat to this point has been challenging. Onward means never, ever, giving up, personally or professionally.
Upward means taking flight. Who among us has not seen a toddler falling down while struggling to take its first faltering steps? You applaud their first feeble steps with every confidence that they will succeed if they only keep trying. And they always do.
That’s the spirit of Onward and Upward. It’s not about the falling. It’s about the getting back up after you fall. Onward and Upward is the cornerstone of this company and hopefully the cornerstone of your careers here. Through your continued, combined efforts day by day, we will succeed, as the best is yet to come.
I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.