Winston Churchill had pursued many options in his career, but he always wanted the ultimate job – Prime Minister of England. He had been a soldier, war correspondent, and had a number of political positions he had won and lost. He was doubted by many, and most people don’t know that by the age of 40 he was considered a failure.
He became the First Lord of the Admiralty during World War I, and was the lead architect and supporter of the invasion of Turkey now known as the Gallipoli campaign. His goal is very strategic – create a southern link to England’s ally at the time, Russia. But the Turks refused to give up and the campaign cost many lives. While Churchill wasn’t totally responsible for the loss, the battle was a major defeat and it damaged his future prospects. For many, he was written off and forgotten.
But he never gave up, and by 1940, Hitler’s Wehrmacht was moving across Western Europe, moving into position to sweep across the English Channel. That’s when Churchill was summoned by King George VI to become prime minister and lead the British forces against the greatest threat in nine centuries.
At the time, Winston Churchill was 65 years old. Despite the legion of critics and skeptics, he was confident. He said later that he felt he was “walking with destiny, and that all my life had been but a preparation for this hour and for this trial.”
You know the rest. He was successful in not only reviving the British war effort, but persuading Roosevelt to bring the might of the United States to bear on the Nazis. He’s been called the greatest leader of the 20th century, and the greatest British leader of all time.
And what put him on the map didn’t happen until after turning 65.
Churchill said it best: “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”
And you can do that at any age…