By Christine Len
I like starting things. Starting is fun for me. I have lots of ideas and creativity and I love to make lists. Starting is born in the hopes and dreams that have been brewing and growing inside your heart. Starting is exciting! Everything is new and fresh, and even though there is a learning curve and new challenges, you are determined and ready to conquer any obstacle that gets in the way.
Finishing is a whole other story! Finishing has always been the sticking point for me. I get bored easily and I want to move on. I like fun and exciting, and sometimes finishing calls for more than “fun” energy. Some endeavors take months or years. Some even decades or a lifetime. Most anything worthwhile has surprises and unexpected costs along the way. When you are in the middle of a promise, a plan, or your life’s purpose, you have to factor in the times when it will get tough and you may be tempted to give up.
I found myself turning the corner into the last third of my career as a teacher, even though I did not think I would stay in education that long (which is why I passed on an opportunity to get my master’s degree much earlier). I also started beating myself up at the missed opportunities and higher pay an advanced degree would have brought. Then I realized that I can’t do anything about the years behind me, but I can do something about the years ahead of me! I can finish out my career strong!
It all came together so quickly and I knew God’s provision, grace, and favor had made a way. Before I knew it, I was enrolled in a master’s degree program and began my studies. The start was exciting, challenging, and interesting. I enjoyed the process and learned so much. Not only was I aiming to finish my career strong, I was aiming to complete my studies strong.
I realized that my mindset along the way dictated how I journeyed, and would ultimately determine how I finished. Throughout the months it took to earn my degree, I faced tough obstacles and assignments that required a lot of work. I longed for the day when it was accomplished but I had to keep my determination to get there.
Here’s the thing about finishing strong – everyone around you benefits. I was able to apply many of the concepts I had learned, transforming my teaching approach, which allowed my students to benefit as well.
What do you want to finish strong? Your career? Your education? A business venture? Perhaps it is that fitness plan, that eating plan, or a savings plan that fell by the wayside. Maybe it is reaching out to someone or being more active in your faith. We all have something that needs our determination to be accomplished the way it was meant to be.
Throughout this journey, I was reminded of a few important keys that helped me finish strong. I hope these reminders will encourage you, as well.
- Remember Why
If the dream was the inspiration at the starting line, the dream must become the bulls-eye at the finish line. There is a reason you started in the first place. Remembering the “why” will help you push through when giving up would be easier.
- Embrace the Journey
This is where you are, now. The finish line is coming, but allow yourself to learn, discover, and explore as you enjoy each step, and all that each new day brings your way.
- Stay Focused
Don’t allow unnecessary distractions to consume your time, energy, and effort.
- Celebrate Your Growth
Cheer yourself on! There are many small victories on the way to big victories! Share what you are learning with others and it will make what you are learning multiply.
- Keep Investing
Any aspect of life that is worth doing well is worth you seeing it through with your best work, effort, and attitude. There is a reward for your investment. It’s not too late. You are not too old. You are not too young. Keep moving forward and reaching higher. You can do it. It is yours for the finishing!
Let’s finish strong!