Finish Strong

While I was in Jr. High School I ran track.  I don’t remember a lot about it, I wasn’t particularly great at it.  But I did have a really good coach.  He was tough, but smart.  He knew when to challenge and when to inspire.  He was a good man and an excellent coach.  One thing that does stick out to me about him, is something he used to always say, when we were coming round that last lap and headed for the finish line, no matter how fast we had run, or how long. When we arrived at the last quarter mile, he would say “Kick, finish strong, run through the tape.”

 

Finishing strong is so important.  Not just finishing strong, but finishing well.  It is amazing how little thought we give to the idea of the way we finish.

2018 is on the way, we are rapidly careening toward the end of 2017, and all most people are thinking about is next year.  Putting our plans together, and building our strategies to reach for excellence in another year.

Starting always seems more important than finishing.  It seems a lot more fun, and far more exciting.  The starting line seems to be our focus much more than the finish line.  I suppose it’s because it’s exciting to think about what is ahead, what the future holds.  The finish line is all about evaluating what we have done.  It’s about the discipline of wrapping things up.  Taking care of business.  Finishing things off.  Getting honest and admitting whether we hit the mark, reached the goal, or accomplished the task, or not.

Yes, it is exciting to start something new.  I get pumped just thinking about new opportunities, and fresh ideas, and another chance to attempt to reach for success.  However, it is so important to finish strong.  Not just for finishing’s sake, but for the sake of the new start.  How can you start well next year, if you didn’t finish strong this year.  It will feel like something was left undone, it will leave you with a sense of incomplete work.

REASONS TO FINISH STRONG:

  •  Finishing strong, gives you confidence to start the next thing strong.

    • Confidence is a trait we all need more than we would like to admit.  one of the reasons we lack confidence is because, we usually have several things in our life that are still not complete.  Whether, its because of procrastination, or because we lack priority, when we have things undone it shakes our core and translates to a feeling of failure.
    • If we do finish strong however, we leave one season and go into the next with our head held high with a feeling of achievement.  We are ready for the next thing, because the last thing is complete.

 

  • Finishing strong, Keeps momentum moving and carries you into the next race with high energy.

    • There is nothing more disappointing as a competitive runner, to have run a race, and be in the lead,  then come to the finish and right before we cross the finish line we let up, and someone who has been trailing us runs passed us and wins the race.  Sure we came in second, but if we had just run through the tape, and hustle strong to the end we would would have won.  REGRET
    • Go into next year with momentum.  With a win under your belt.  That prepares you and inspires you for the next race. Finishing strong gives us that opportunity.

 

  • Finishing strong reveals to you and those on your team what you are made of.

    • There is no better way to gain the confidence of your team, than to finish strong.  It shows them that you don’t give up, you don’t quit.  You are persistently passionate about reaching the goal.
    • This makes people want to run with you, not just watch you run.

 

  • Finishing strong completes the process.  Gives a sense of closure.

    • The feeling of being stuck, is something we all deal with from time to time.  One of the biggest reasons for this is incomplete goals.  No follow through.  It is hard to reach for whats next while you are still holding on to what is behind, and its hard to let go of what is behind you when you didn’t finish strong. What’s worse is if you don’ t finish strong you can lose all the effort, energy and work that you put into it.  What is not tied off will eventually unravel.

 

  • Finishing strong prepares you for the next level of the process towards success.

    • Giving it all you have finishing strong, trains you and prepares you for the next challenge.  It enlarges your capacity and lets you know, you can accomplish what is next.

How to finish strong:

  •  Don’t be distracted by the next thing.

    • While it would be ridiculous to suggest that you not plan or strategize for the future.  You would not be a leader at all if you were not looking forward to where we are going.  However planning and strategizing shouldn’t distract you from the work of finishing this year strong.
    • Look at finishing strong, as the beginning of starting well.

 

  • Run through the tape.

    • When we come to the end of a thing, there is a real temptation to let up.  Just coast in.
    • A person of integrity understands that you enter the next opportunity the way you left the last.
    • Don’t start slowing towards the finish line.  This is the time to kick it into high gear.  Focus and give it all you have.

 

  • Let your focus cary you through the finish

    • There is a principle in martial arts that says your energy will cary you through to your focus.  When someone is breaking blocks or wood, they don’t look at the top board and try to break it.  they look at the floor beneath all the boards and then as they strike their energy carries them through to the point of their focus.
    • Get your eye on the prize of finishing and run through it.  Not just to it, but through it.  Don’t let up or slow down until you have broken the tape and you can say I finished strong.

 

  • Commit to follow through no matter what.

    • When you come to the end of something there are a lot of excuses that will arise to get you to give up.
    • When running your legs can go numb.  You have to tell your body you are in control and you can do it and you will run through.
    • The sounds of the foot steps and breathing of the other runners around you can intimidate and cause you to want to give in.
    • The sheer weariness can get to you.  You feel like you just can’t finish it.  You are just too tired.
    • The only thing that will pull you through is commitment.  A commitment that no matter what, no matter how hard, no matter how tired or what obstacle stands in the way, you made an agreement with yourself that you would not give up.

Yes we want to start 2018 well.  We want to kick it off with a bang.  We want to develop vision, cast vision, and chase our goals down in 2018.

However, the single best way to do that is to Finish 2017 Strong.  It will set us up for the best start ever.  Finishing strong is a win, and the momentum of a win, carries you into the next challenge with energy, excitement and passion.

BOTtOM LINE:  The pre-requisite to starting well, is finishing the previous challenge strong.

So Lets do it.  “KICK, Finish strong, run through the tape!”