Years ago, I attended an association meeting in sunny California. Many speakers inspired us with their stories. But one man's message still rings in my ears. "Whatever you decide to do, whatever you agree to do, whatever you embark upon doing... do it to the best of your ability!" He received a standing ovation that afternoon. The message had touched all of us. That evening, over dinner, there was an excitement as each person animatedly told of their plans for the coming year.
The years have come and gone since that speech. Yet, to this day, those words always come to my mind at the end of every calendar year. Some of us let up. Some of us take the foot off the gas pedal. Some of us slow down toward the finish line. A popular best-selling book teaches that "finishing the race and not wearing down at the finish line" is the only way to win. Sometimes we hear people in the winter years of their life say: "I wish I had...." or "I always wanted to..." Leonardo Da Vinci said, "Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do."
Run the race - finish well. I think this means, in every day life, some of the following:
- If I am a friend, then be a good one to the end!
- If I have good health, then protect and nurture it to the end!
- If I am surrounded by family, then gather together to the end!
- If I have a good job, then do the work "all the way"!
- If I don't have a job, then use all of my abilities to find one!
- If I am learning, then truly absorb all the lessons!
What happens when you don't finish well?
- You give up.
- You can't "get over" a past hurt.
- You leave things undone.
- You make a mess for someone else to clean up.
- You leave hard feelings behind.
- Your self-esteem slides downward.
- You do not focus on helping others.
- You "wear thin" on those around you.
It's possible you feel that you're in a tentative position right now. Can you finish strong in times like these? Yes! Yes, you can! In fact, a younger generation needs to see us model strength, perseverance, creativity, innovation, and hope - until times get a little easier. Don't quit before you're finished. Your and my legacies will be counted by all the things that we finish!
Dreaming is good. Planning is necessary. But finishing is best. Get results on the job. Build a marriage that demonstrates everlasting love and durability. Nurture business relationships that grow stronger through the years. Feed friendships so they outlive decades of trials and tribulations. Be an inspiration to those coming behind you! With just one life to live, live it fully and finish well!