While shoveling the snow from my driveway a couple of weeks ago, I was tempted to quit at several points. You see, I have a very long driveway. I had cleared enough to get my car through the toughest spots, and it probably would have been fine if I had quit mid-way through. Probably.
But while out there, I came up with several reasons to keep going. First, shoveling snow is good exercise, and after being cooped up with the flu for a week, it felt good to work my muscles a little. Secondly, shoveling snow provides good thinking time, and I don’t get as much of that as I would like these days (I seem to spend too much time doing and not enough time thinking about why or what I’m doing). Third, shoveling snow requires layers of clothing. If I had gone inside, I would have had to strip down those layers; and the likelihood that I would re-suit up after doing that was slim. I was also motivated by the thought that any guests would be forced to navigate a half-shoveled driveway, which would not be as easy for them as for me, since they don’t know the drive as well.
Most importantly, though – and this is what really kept me going for the final stretch – was the underlying value in finishing what I started. My parents instilled this in me at an early age, to the point that I feel compelled, even when I don’t want to, to see something through to the end.
Anyone can be a starter. We all do it. We start a project; we buy an instrument or a fancy camera; some of us even start the Great American Novel… with the intention of learning, of mastering, of completing. But so often, when the energy, enthusiasm and creativity wane, so does our commitment. We are good at starting, but we are not so good at finishing.
Finishing must become a habit for those who want to be successful. For that reason, I want to be as good at finishing as I am at starting. Finishers are successful; finishers are winners; finishers are motivators and role models. They have perseverance and character and wisdom. Yes, I am a finisher. My body may ache, and my clothes may be wet through… but my driveway is clear. And I am content with another job completed.
– Clifford Bailey