Thursday, July 24, 2014

Are You a Strong Finisher?

Have you noticed that some people (often wildly creative people) have great ideas and love to start things, but somewhere during the process of carrying out the inspiration, they get bored, bogged down, or for some other reason, lose interest? The next thing you know, they’ve moved onto another fabulous idea or project. If you’ve ever lived with someone like this, you know that this lack of follow-through can be a smidge irritating.

Then there are closers or finishers. These folks may or may not be super-creative, and they may or may not be fired up when they start a new project, but boy do they know how to finish. These are the athletes who score the goals or take first place, and the sales people who don’t let up until the the deal is signed.

Personally, I’ve always been the former, the “artist” who couldn’t wait to create my next masterpiece, but would peter out when it was 95% complete. Or I’d have several creative projects going at once. When one lost its excitement, I’d move onto something else. And then there are all those half-read books. I even wash most of the dishes, leaving the boring ones for later. (And believe me when I tell you that I’m even less inspired to wash them the next day!)

Of course, we’re not necessarily one or the other. For instance, when I complained to my sister about not being a closer (she happens to be a very successful one), she argued, “What are you talking about?” and went on to list my achievements. She was right, I have completed many goals, some of them quite substantial, so why do I leave two baseboards unpainted in my otherwise beautifully redecorated family room?

If you are a finisher, I applaud you, because it’s so easy to get distracted in this world, or to fall prey to what my friend, Z Egloff, calls BSO’s (bright shiny objects). There’s always something competing for our attention. There’s always something more interesting to think about than those last two baseboards...

I’m sure there are deeper issues at hand here for some of us who quit or move on prematurely, but, frankly, my interest in this subject is starting to wane… please join me this week in noticing where you follow through in your life, and where you don't.

For instance, when someone pays me to complete a task, I always do it in a timely, complete, and conscientious manner-----not because of the money, but because I made an agreement with another person. I don’t always follow through, though, on agreements I’ve made with myself, which is obviously something to look at.

So what about you? Is this issue a problem in any part of your life? Do you see patterns of failing to follow through in your work life, creative life, relationship with yourself, or relationships with others?