Isn’t knowing how to finish the differentiating factor between winners and losers? The greats are finishers, they are closers, they “want the ball at the end of the game.”
Why do we put so much emphasis on starting and hardly emphasis on learning how to finish?
Starting is easy, finishing is hard. That’s why we need to be more proactive in finishing what we start.
In my early days as a business owner and entrepreneur, I would chase every shiny object that came way my. I’ve wasted hundreds, if not thousands of hours of my life, working without direction or clarity.
My problem was that I was a great starter, but I didn’t know how to finish what I started. It wasn’t until I developed these skills that I was able to truly see success.
My hope is that you read this article and learn from my own experience so that you can save yourself the trouble and failure that comes from not knowing how to finish.
Let’s get started!
Start With the End in Mind
When I started the Boca Digest, I didn’t spend any time thinking about what my end goal was. I went into that project with the mindset of “I’m going to start working, and we will see what happens.”
I’ve spent two years building that site and I am no further along in monetizing that brand then I was when I started.
Don’t get me wrong, the site is doing better than ever and I am excited about what I have been working on to turn that site into a real, sustainable business. The point is that if I would have taken my time in the beginning, to know what my “ultimate outcome” was to be, then I would be miles further along then I am now.
The last month, I have built a local business directory and even found an extremely talented sales person to get started in reaching out to businesses. Everything is running like a well-oiled machine, but if I knew what my end goal was from the beginning, I would be making money by now.
Learn to Say No
This was the hardest lesson for me to learn and truly commit to.
There are two reasons why I have struggled saying no to people and to new opportunities in my life.
- For most of my life, I always felt very anxious about if people liked me or not. I would say yes to everything because I never wanted to let people down.
- I never thought I was going to live very long. Over time, I have learned to stop living in this irrational fear, but it’s always been a driving force for me because in the back of my mind I would be telling myself “there’s not much time left.”
Over and over again I have taken on new projects because I couldn’t stand the fact that I had this “brilliant idea” marinating in my head.
I had no impulse control. I paid the price for that with my time. Now, I have learned that saying no is an important part of knowing how to finish projects.
I had a mentor in my life who put this into perspective for me. He told me that…
“Every time I say yes to something, I am saying no to something else.”
There are only 24 hours in the day and success is dependant on how you use those 24 hours.
Learn How to Be a Master Planner
Many people know my stance on “hustle.”
I don’t believe in hustle, I believe in focus.
People hear this, and they automatically assume I don’t believe in hard work. It’s quite the opposite really. I believe that hard work truly pays off. But the modern definition of hustle is not the same as working hard. Hustle is an excuse. It’s a way to compensate for poor planning.
When you have a plan, you can systematically get closer and closer to your goal. Without a plan, you are running around in circles. You are posting 8 times a day on Facebook. You are crossing off your to-dos and naturally, you are stressed.
Failing to plan is planning to fail.
Understand that your plan will hardly (if ever) be seen through perfectly without bumps in the road. I’ve never once, planned out a new business and not stumbled across some challenges along the way. Life is never that smooth.
The point is that when you have a plan, you never veer far from the path. If you hit a snag, you simply deal with it and then get back in line. You stick to the plan.
If you plan all the way to the end, the only thing that can get in your way of finishing a project is lack of focus.
Which brings me to my next point.
Develop a Laser Focus
There are so many distractions in our world.
The most powerful companies in the history of humanity have spent billions of dollars on platforms that are specifically designed to distract you from what you’re doing.
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Apple, YouTube, Google… all of their business models are built on pulling your attention in different directions. They will steal your attention, they will steal your focus. You can’t let them.
It’s an uphill battle.
I deleted Facebook and Instagram for this exact reason. I am not saying you need to do what I did, but I am saying that if you are easily distracted and checking your phone every 6 minutes, you don’t stand a chance in succeeding.
Imagine all the time you waste every day on distractions.
It’s more than social media, it’s gossip at the office, it’s standing up to stretch, it’s checking your email. You need to learn (just as I did) how to dedicate your time to being in the flow state. You need to protect your attention at all costs because without it you are not an individual, you are just a cog in the machine, you are a leaf in the wind.
This could easily be at the top of the list. I believe so much in the power of focus. It is the single most important “life skill” you can develop that will be the biggest contributor to your success.
Work when you’re working, or you will never make it to the finish line.
Cross the Damn Finish Line
Are you done? Are you finished? Really??
Is your work as perfect as it can be? Are you 100% finished? Are you really?!
It’s an important question to ask. The last thing you want is to be digging for gold and come up a foot short. It doesn’t matter if you’re a mile off of shore or if you are ten feet off of the shore. If you don’t physically walk yourself on to land, you will still drown.
Make it to shore!
I can’t say this with enough punch or enough emphasis. As a business owner, nothing makes me more proud than when my employes see their work through all the way to the very end. Not 98% finished. 100% finished.
This is nothing but commitment. There is no secret to learn here, there are no books to read. This is a decision that you have to make by saying to yourself “I will not stop until I accomplish my goal.”
It’s a choice. That’s all it is. Will you choose greatness or mediocrity?
Every day, I am meeting talented people with brilliant ideas and great work ethic. The reason why most of us never reach our full potential is not that we are dumb or lazy, it’s because we don’t commit to the emotional labor of seeing projects through till the very end.
I won’t tell you to only work on one thing at a time because I have never done that. I won’t tell you anything less than perfect is a failure, because we all know that’s a lie.
Instead, I will ask you to look at your life, look at where you are. Are you where you want to be? If you are, then keep doing what you’re doing.
If you’re not, it’s most likely because you haven’t come through on the deals that you have made with yourself in the past. That’s tragic.
Be a finisher. Learn how to finish, and your life will blossom in ways you can’t yet comprehend.