One thing coaches are constantly emphasizing is the importance of finishing. They know how important it is for you to keep your focus and intensity up all the way through the finish line. They want to save you from even thinking about quitting, and you need to understand why.
Usually, quitting is a bad idea. A really bad idea. At certain points—say, early in a project if you find you’re just not that committed—you might recover if you quit. It may be a necessary adjustment. But, quitting when you’re 98 percent of the way there? That’s a disaster.
Here are 3 dangers of failing to finish to consider as you approach the end of your next project.
1. Your invested time, energy, effort, and money will be wasted.
If you quit when you’re close to the finish line, you will lose the full return of your invested time energy, effort, and money. All of the time. All of the money. The thinking, the planning, the working will be gone too. Wasting those resources is a big hit. You go back to square one and have to start all over again—more frustrated than when you started.
When I lived in North Carolina, we owned a horse farm. Riding competitively was becoming our family activity, and we were buying one horse after another. Well, we needed a way to water the horses and hoses weren’t cutting it. So, we decided to have a well dug. We assumed that a 100-foot well would get us access to the small amount of water we needed, so we hired surveyors to come out and identify the best spot to drill. We hired a good drilling company and set the date. They showed up, and they drilled the agreed-upon 100 feet. No water.
They turned to me and asked, “Do you want us to keep digging?”
I knew if we went deeper the bill was going to go higher, but I had to pay them for the drilling they had already done, so . . . “Okay, let’s go another 100 feet.” I was sure that we would hit something before then.
“Should we keep going?”
“Fine,” I muttered.
They drilled to 300 feet, and then 400 feet. Still no water.
At this point we were starting to assume the farm was sitting on top of the Sahara Desert. But what was I going to do? Was I really going to stop? I would have to pay these guys for a 400-foot well that wasn’t producing any water.
So we kept going. At 420 feet they hit a mighty river. We had so much water we could have supplied the county. Nobody would have blamed us for stopping at 400 feet, but if we had, all that work and investment would have been lost. And we still wouldn’t have been able to water the horses!
2. Your reputation takes a hit.
Failing to finish leaves you high and dry. Worse–it damages your reputation. You don’t get anything big done on your own. It takes the support of your team, your partners, your network, your family, even your community. When you fail to finish, they notice. When you try to rally them to support your next project, they’ll roll their eyes and say, “Yeah, we’ve been down this road before. Fool us once . . .”
You’ll have a hard time rebuilding your reputation and gaining the support you need to win if you don’t prove to people that you know how to finish.
3. Your confidence is damaged.
Finally, if you give up and slide back down, you’ll damage your confidence. It’s one thing for others to give up on you, but the real damage comes when you start doubting yourself.
You’ll have to find something else to get excited about. It will be harder to build the energy and momentum to succeed, because you have to overcome the mental baggage of quitting on yourself. And that’s when quitting can start to become a very bad habit.
You know what’s a lot easier? Never start quitting! Don’t give in to temporary emotion. Make an adjustment and keep on moving.
Life is too short to spend it starting over and over again. When trouble comes, keep the faith and keep on moving forward. Remember, quitting doesn’t solve problems—it just makes them worse.