Finishing well (the last 10%)

Starting is easy. Finishing? Not so much. Think about it…

  • How many books have you started… but not finished?
  • How many projects remain unfinished around your house?
  • How many e-mails are still in “draft” form in your e-mail?
  • How many difficult conversations have you started but the problem still remains because you didn’t finish the conversation?
You get the point.
But here’s something else to consider. It’s not sufficient to finish if it’s not done well! The last 10% of any project always seems to be the hardest, but it may be the most important! It is the finished product that sells!
A few days ago I read a post from a prolific blogger who wears weird glasses and shows only the top of his head on his blog… Seth Godin! He wrote:

It’s not enough to finish the checklist, to hurrily do the last three steps and declare victory.

In fact, the last coat of polish and the unhurried delivery of worthwhile work is valued all out of proportion to the total amount of effort you put into the project.

It doesn’t matter how many designers, supply chains, workers, materials and factories were involved– if the box is improperly sealed, that’s how you will be judged. 

He’s right!

Solomon, purportedly the wisest man to ever live, wrote “Finishing is better than starting” (Ecclesiastes 7:8 NIV). And if I can take such liberty I’d say, “Finishing well is better than starting well!”

Think about this, why spend the time, money, and energy to start well if you’re not committed to finishing well?

Jesus was all about this. Look at how He said it:

Luke 14:28-32  don’t begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first getting estimates and then checking to see if there is enough money to pay the bills?  29 Otherwise, you might complete only the foundation before running out of funds. And then how everyone would laugh at you!  30 They would say, ‘There’s the person who started that building and ran out of money before it was finished!’  31 “Or what king would ever dream of going to war without first sitting down with his counselors and discussing whether his army of ten thousand is strong enough to defeat the twenty thousand soldiers who are marching against him?  32 If he is not able, then while the enemy is still far away, he will send a delegation to discuss terms of peace.

Listen, I am pretty good at starting things, but here’s what I’m finding… finishing feels even better, makes people even happier, and gives me greater credibility as a man and a leader. And finishing well? Well that increases these three exponentially!

I want to challenge myself and encourage you to go finish something today… and finish it well! Make the last 10% as good as the first 10%!


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