Friday, October 11, 2013

Finish What You Start

I follow a lot of people on Twitter. It’s kind of like my daily headlines—if it’s important, it’ll show up. But it’s better than just having a newspaper because I can create the atmosphere of news I want to be exposed to; I can make sure that most of my headlines will take me to things that will help make me a better person today than I was yesterday. That means I follow a lot of people like Dave RamseyJohn Maxwell, and of course Southwestern Advantage. (I also follow Mental Floss because I love trivia.) Another one I follow is, and last year, they tweeted a headline titled “Want to Be More Effective? Try a Mental Detox.”

Intriguing, right? After all, who doesn’t want to be more effective at what they’re passionate about? So of course I clicked. Now, if you can, I recommend reading the whole article: the author lays out four things you can do on a regular basis to keep yourself focused on the important things and to do them better. But I just want to focus on one of those, #3: Commit to finishing what you start.

Now, here at Southwestern Advantage, we take commitment pretty seriously and we take finishing what you start pretty seriously—at least when it comes to the big things. But what about the small things in your life? The author of the article quotes a man named Jason Selk, who asserts that a lot of people stop when they get things about 90% done. They suffer from what one of our former record-breaking salespeople Bill Zizzi used to call “satisfied-itis.” It’s good enough, so they sort of putter out for that last little bit. What this leads to is a job not quite well-done, or else a to-do list that never quite gets any smaller.

The interesting thing about this phenomenon is that it really does happen. I like to think of myself as a pretty reliable person, and as someone who gives 100% effort 100% of the time. But then I look around my apartment and notice all the half-unpacked boxes, and I think of all the knitting projects where I skipped the blocking at the end because I just wanted to sew the sweater up and be done with it.

Take a minute and think about YOUR life: how many half-done projects do you have sitting around? Maybe a painting you were making, or a book you were reading (or writing!). How many times did you slack off right at the end of that paper, and skip doing that final revision? How different would you feel about those activities if you committed to getting them completely finished and followed through on that commitment? 

So I ask you—no, I DARE you—to finish what you start this week. Take all those little things that you’ve set aside and only half-completed, and just get them done. Finish cleaning your apartment, or writing that novel, or reading that book. Finish getting your bills paid and your finances organized. Finish planning that vacation, and book those concert tickets. Those things you’ve thought about and planned for, but haven’t made happen yet: make them happen. Do it just for this week. And if you don’t like the results, then you don’t have to ever do it again. But I bet you will. 

Jaselyn Taubel

Sales Support, Southwestern Advantage

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