On Being a Finisher

April 8, 2013 · 9 comments

You know how, at the beginning of the year, your favorite gym class is so crammed with resolution-drunk people that you can barely get a spot? And how after a few weeks or months they drop off and you’re back to the regulars?

We’re into April now, and this is the time when temporary gym rats start disappearing. This is the time when people start falling off the wagon.

So today I want to send a reminder: Don’t be one of those people.

Image: crossing finish line on bike

You don’t have to be on a bike to push hard to the finish.

Following through is a dying art — whether that’s following through on what you tell yourself or what you promise someone else. (Click here to tweet this idea.) As Ryan Ferrier wrote recently, most people aren’t finishers.

Which makes it pretty damn easy for the rest of us to stand out. Simply do what you say you’re going to do.

Then, go beyond what you said you would do. Overdeliver. You will be amazed at the response.

Because if you actually follow through, if you actually finish, if you actually meet your deadlines consistently, people will want to work with you again and again and again.

That’s what I find with anyone who joins my biz team. When I discover someone who always follows through, always finishes, always meets deadlines and overdelivers, I want more of that person. The quality is THAT rare.

It’s not rocket science, is it? Yet following through is so refreshing that if you do it consistently, you will come out far ahead of everyone else.

Even better, it will make YOU feel good. It will make you proud of yourself. If you follow through, you’ll feel good about what you’ve accomplished.

So as we start a new workweek, ask yourself: Am I a finisher?

If following through isn’t your strength, how can you make it a priority?

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Thomas April 8, 2013 at 9:50 am

Thanks Alexis.
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Mindy April 8, 2013 at 9:56 am

Oh, this hits home this week! I am a finisher when it comes to work projects–I couldn’t have built up my freelance business if I weren’t. But, this weekend I started thinking about how I am not always a finisher when it comes to my want-to-do household projects or commitments to friends and family. Part of the issue is that those all-important work projects often have to take priority over so many other areas, but I’ve started looking at how I use the time in my day and how I can better prioritize projects so everything gets done. The other thing I realized is that I can’t be afraid to say no to commitments that I know aren’t a top priority. It is better to say no than to say yes then not follow through later.
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Alexis Grant April 8, 2013 at 2:13 pm

Great point, Mindy! Better to say no than to do a poor job or not follow through :)

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Debra April 8, 2013 at 12:16 pm

Alexis, you hit the nail on the head for me. I’m a great starter, but not always so much of a great finisher. I’ve been working on follow-through for the last year, and while I’m doing much better, I still plan to keep “Follow Through” on my list of goals/resolutions.
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Jessica Zisa April 13, 2013 at 11:24 pm

This is such a wonderful reminder! Being a student approaching graduation, it’s difficult to balance homework, work and building your professional resume. As great as it is to be busy with internships and volunteer work, it is just as important to finish each project with excellence. Your post is a great reminder that this can be done, but it must be intentional. Managing time efficiently and keeping focused on benchmarks and deadlines can bring great rewards. Thank you!

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Vishnu April 14, 2013 at 4:51 pm

Thank for writing this post Alexis, which really resonated. I used to think and still do that showing up and starting was the key to success. A lot of people don’t show up to start, let alone finish. So, if starting gets you half way there, then finish.

I can’t stand it when others don’t follow through. And even feel worse when it’s me who doesn’t :)

Finishing is so rare (as you point out) that simply by finishing, others will feel like we over-delivered!

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Sarah Li Cain April 22, 2013 at 3:24 am

I completely agree! I ended up getting a photography gig because I was the only one who actually submitted a query letter AND actually had the photos printed and professionally framed. The client said that others simply would email him photos and expected him to do all the work, or just hand him random photos and asked him to frame them. He also said that about 90% of them would send him an email and then he’d never hear from them again.

So yes, finish what you start.
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