Now Finish It!
We love America! All of our Command Presence Instructors are either current or former law enforcement officers and many are military veterans. We believe that America is the greatest country on earth, and we are blessed to live here. So, we definitely enjoyed the 4th of July holiday and celebrated our freedom.
As I was reflecting on the incredible courage that it took for our founding fathers to sign the Declaration of Independence, it got me to thinking about the day after. After all the excitement surrounding signing that historical document, what was it like after?
The only answer I could come up with is it was hard work. Long, hard work. Work that involved great personal sacrifice. Sacrifice that included personal health, wealth, and sometimes lives. A war that was grueling and whose end was often in doubt. Yet, they persevered, and this great country was born.
And that got me thinking about my personal and professional life. How many times have I started something – sometimes small, sometimes grand – and failed to finish it. Failed to make the necessary sacrifices. Failed to put in the work required. The answer is all too often I have failed to finish it.
Very rarely does change happen overnight. Meaningful change often takes time – sometimes a long time – before it is realized.
So why do we (I) so often fail to follow through on something that I know is for my own good? There are several reasons.
The initial jolt of adrenaline that we feel when we first start a meaningful task is gone all too quickly. Once that is gone the real work begins. And the real work is hard. Hard work is tiring and can be frustrating. But it produces results. The Apostle Paul said it best in Galatians 6:9 (NIV), “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
We also often forget why we started the change in the first place. When we first make the decision the why is clear and bright. Yet it fades over time. It is imperative that we remind ourselves why we started the journey in the first place.
Perhaps the most common reason we fail to finish is the perceived lack of results. We are often too close to the work to see the changes that are actually taking place. It’s similar to trying to lose weight. We may actually be losing weight but fail to see the changes because they are so gradual. But if you run into someone you haven’t seen for a while they can see the overall change which is often significant. We highly recommend Atomic Habits by James Clear. He lays out the tremendous gains that can be made with incremental changes over time. It’s a great read!
Making the decision to begin something or change something can be exhilarating. It is often the easiest part of the whole process. The hard work takes place after the decision is made. Don’t quit. If you do, all the hard work, the sweat, the sacrifice up until now is for naught. Now finish it!