Here’s what I believe about starting and finishing.
It’s good to start things. You should start a lot of things. Starting things is fun and, if you’re wired that way you shouldn’t stop.
And, once started, it’s okay if not all of those things see the light of day. Over time, you’ll drop some stuff, you’ll forget some stuff, you’ll let some stuff fall to the side. That’s okay.
You need to try to get more of those things to a finish. Sure, you don’t have to let all of them get to a finish. But you need to take a look at what you are starting and what you are finishing and you need to decide how to bring more of those things further along.
And, you need to get better and purposely stopping things rather than just letting them fizzle out.
You need to start well, with a good plan, and plenty of contingencies forecasted. You need to move forward, stepping up your game as the project becomes harder and harder to accomplish. And you need to become addicted to the finish and embrace the feeling you get when a project wraps up successfully.
Make stuff. Do stuff. Build stuff. Have fun doing it. And try to finish what you start more often.
I’ve been blogging the past couple of months about my need to do a better job of finishing what I start, and I’ve been sharing candidly about the successes and struggles I’m having as I work through a list of of projects.
Here’s my final update in the #FinishWhatYouStart blog post series.
I will have developed a strategy for one of my brands (which I started up a year and a half ago but it stalled out and has a couple of false starts since but no real progress).Update: Done!
- I will have published 100 articles. Update: Not done.
- I will be doing 3-set high-intensity circuit-training workouts 6 times a week with 30 pound weights. (I keep getting stuck at 3 circuits with 20 pound weights or 2 circuits with 30 pound weights). Update: Not done.
I will have finished putting together my US corporation (which has been a long and painful process to set up since I live in Canada). Update: Done!
- I will have completed a copywriting course. (I’m always taking courses to improve my skills and I’m currently taking one on copywriting, which I started last year but which has stalled). Update: Close to being done.
- I will have published my Sales Funnel Bible book (which I finished writing in the spring but the editing has stalled). Update: Not done.
I will have finished the first draft of a book I’m co-writing with a friend of mine (which is actually going well but is right at the precipice of falling into an abyss of delay!) Update: Done!
I will be marketing each week to a joint venture list and earning a minimum amount of weekly income from that effort (which is something I’ve been doing off and on with mixed success for the past couple of years but which I’d like to have consistent income from). Update: Done!
I will finish deploying a new brand that I’ve just started. (See? not everything is stalled. I want this one to do well before I let it crash!) Update: Done!
I will develop a plan for an internet television brand I put together a couple of years ago (which I put aside for a while to focus on my Sales Funnel Bible book). Update: Done!
- I will drywall and paint the recroom in my basement and install a bar (which is something that I’ve be ready to do since the summer but haven’t got around to yet). Update: Not done.
I will have finished a client’s book (which we’ve been planning to write for a while!). Update: Done!
- I will finish a year’s worth of newsletters for a real estate investor (which we’re in the process of doing — everything is going well there. Again, I don’t want to let it fall). Update: Not done.
- I will finish a book for a real estate investor (which, again, is going okay so far, although the timeline is starting to alarm me). Update: Not done.
I will have a plan in place to start marketing one of my brands (which is going well but I’d like to push it forward more). Update: Done!
I will have a plan in place to take one of my brands to a new level (which has done well but I want to take it in a new direction). Update: Done!
- Proprietary project #1. Update: Not done.
- Proprietary project #2. Update: Not done.
- Proprietary project #3. Update: Not done.
Proprietary project #4. Update: Done!
Overall: 10/20 have been completely finished. A couple more are close. Three are nowhere near being done.
I’m co-writing a series of articles for financial professionals, along with my colleague Rosemary Smyth, an international coach to financial advisors.
One of our articles was posted at the Agent eNews blog. The article lists a really cool strategy to strengthen your skills with mentors.
Check out the article at the link below:
It’s easy to start projects, it’s much harder to finish what you start.
So I’ve been exploring how to start well and finish well… and how to overcome the obstacles in between.
One of the things that can screw up your ability to finish well is your start. You need to start smart if you’re going to see a project all the way through to the finish. Unfortunately, an optimistic start is not always a good start.
As an optimist, I love seeing the glass as half full but that optimism makes it difficult for me to start in a way that improves my ability to finish. Your optimism misleads you.
Here’s how optimism can hurt your project:
- Optimism can convince you that the project, as you envision it, will be an immediate success. In reality, projects can take a lot of work to get through.
- Optimism can convince you that no additional work will be required above the original plan. In reality, most projects require additional work to augment the original plan because things change and because projects can require more work than initially thought.
- Optimism can convince you that nothing unexpected will arise to create more work or reduce the time allotted. In reality, unexpected things arise in projects and they change things — sometimes dramatically — requiring you to adjust your course.
- Optimism can convince you that the project will hold my attention all the way through to the end. In reality, as things become difficult, new projects can tempt you away from sticking to the original plan.
- That the my original scope was 100% accurate. In reality, the scope of a project can change (whether or not you want it to!).
- That all risks have been mitigated. In reality, you can only foresee some risks. Other risks are ignored, underestimated, or just remain invisible until they become problems.
I love being an optimist but it sometimes messes with project plans. The best course of action is to embrace your optimism as fuel to get you started but to also dial in a healthy dose of realism to ensure that your project is more accurately planned.