5 Ways to Finish What You Start
An archery teacher placed a wooden bird in a field and asked his students to aim at the eye of the bird. Then he asked the first student, “What do you see when you take aim?”
The student said, “I see the trees and their branches and leaves. I see the sky. And I see the bird and its eye.”
The teacher turned to his second student and asked, “And what do you see?”
The second student said, “I see only the eye of the bird.”
“Very good,” said the teacher. “Take your shot.”
The arrow flew straight and hit the bird directly in its eye.
Until you focus, my friend, you cannot hit the target!
Whatever you are moving toward, that goal is also moving toward you. What are focusing on right now? Do you believe in it? Whatever you’re aiming for, please put your head, heart, and hands into it. Finish what you start.
Here are five tips that will empower you to finish what you start, every time:
1. Be big, think big, and act big.
Benjamin E. Mays, former president of Morehouse College, once said, “The tragedy of life is often not in our failure, but rather in our complacency; not in our doing too much, but rather in our doing too little; not in our living above our ability, but rather in our living below our capacities.” What can you do to drive value in all that you do? Make it happen.
2. Be open to happy accidents.
Joe Jaworski, author of Synchronicity: The Inner Path of Leadership, says, “Serendipity is when you go to a place, a setting, or a meeting expecting a certain outcome and discover something entirely different because you are open and are present to the moment.” In “Perceptions of Serendipity,” published in the Journal of Counseling Psychology, we learn that “career analysts find that 83% of mid-career professionals believe chance (serendipity) played a significant role in their ultimate career path and that they highly value staying open for unexpected opportunities.”Keep moving forward. Finish what you start. You never know what you might bump into, my friend.
3. Be intentional with your time and energy.
Vilfredo Pareto was an Italian economist who in 1906 observed that 20% of the Italian people owned 80% of their country’s accumulated wealth. Now to put this into context: 80% of your success is the result of 20% of your efforts. Determine how you can move the needle by becoming laser-like in your daily efforts, rather than being a floor lamp that diffuses its energy, or a strobe light that that can’t focus on any one thing.
4. Be desperate.
In his latest book David and Goliath (a must-read), Malcolm Gladwell shares an amazing story about University of Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino: “In 1978, when he was twenty-five years old, Pitino used the full court press to take the school to its first NCAA tournament appearance in twenty-four years. Pitino says he has many coaches come to Louisville every year to learn the press. They turn around and e-mail him and tell him that they can’t do it. He tells them, ‘We practice every day for two hours. The players are moving almost ninety-eight percent of the practice. We spend very little time talking.”The coaches who came to learn from Rick Pitino were not desperate enough to change. Gladwell makes the point that to beat the Goliath in your life, you have to be desperate enough to do the unconventional.
5. Be a Storyteller.
Contagious by Jonah Berger is one of my favorite books. He says, “People don’t share information; they tell stories. But just like the epic tale of the Trojan Horse, stories are vessels that carry things such as morals and lessons. Information travels under the guise of what seems like idle chatter. So we need to build our own Trojan horses, embedding our products and ideas in stories that people want to tell. Make your message so integral to the narrative that people can’t tell the story without it.”
When a person decides to focus, they heed the advice Robin Williams gives in the movie Dead Poet Society: “Carpe diem. Seize the day, boys. Make your lives extraordinary.”
Lead, Live, and Love Brilliant,
Simon T. Bailey