We’ve been discussing failure, in particular failing to do what we know we should. First we talked about failure to launch. Yesterday we unpacked failure to follow through. Today I want to touch on finishing well.

Ironically, I finished writing this piece a week ago, then forgot to publish it. Ooops. I finished, alright, but not very well. Sorry! 😉

I was tempted to say that getting started is half the battle in any project, but I don’t think that’s true. Starting is easy, because the only personal barriers to overcome are fear, apathy, and clarity. Following through is harder than launching, because it involves hard work. Finishing well, though, is toughest of all because it involves fine tuning. It’s where good is meticulously polished into great. Follow through gets you 85% of the way, which in most cases is “good enough.” Good enough is tempting, because it’s often better than most. But finishing well never thinks in terms of “good enough.” It strives to offer our very best.

I spent nine wonderful years in Winkler, Manitoba as a Youth Pastor. When I gave my notice, I made a clear decision: Instead of doing what people expected (most pastors who resign “check out” emotionally long before they actually leave) I decided to finish strong. “My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.” That was my goal. Building on that commitment, I decided my final teaching series had to be the most ambitious, creative, and involved six weeks of my entire tenure there. And I finished well, heart fully engaged until my last day.

Finishing well is also important because people remember how we finish more clearly than how we start or even how well we follow through. Our finish can either wipe out our legacy or carve it in stone.

What have you learned about finishing well?