This is third and final post in this series. You can read the previous two posts by clicking on the appropriate link:
How To Finish Strong And Not Finish Wrong [Part 1]
How To Finish Strong And Not Finish Wrong [Part 2]
Keep your eye on the finish line.
“It’s not the first but the last step in the relay race, the last shot in the basketball game, the last yard with the football into the end zone that makes the difference, for that is where the game is won.” – Dr. John Maxwell, Leadership Author and Speaker
Finishing strong helps you leave well. You will only get one chance to finish well in this position then history will decide how you are remembered. When you keep your eye on the finish line, you stay focused on doing your best right up until the end. Success isn’t about starting but finishing. The end of the student leadership year brings some questions with it:
“Was it worth it?”
“Did I really make a difference?”
“What kind of effort can I honestly put into this thing in the last few days?”
These types of questions can conjure up feelings of regret over what you expected to happen and where you’re currently at. They can also motivate you to make the most of the moments you have left to serve. It all depends on where your focus is: regret or resolve.
The difficulty with regret is that it comes with the realization that you can’t go back and change what has already happened. The beauty of resolve is that it doesn’t matter what’s happened in the past, you can keep your eyes focused on where you’re headed in the present. You can experience a breakthrough in your leadership when you’re able to focus and concentrate on those areas where you can lend your strengths. Your resolve to finish strong will be one of the most important contributing factors to looking back on your student leadership year without regret.
Good student leaders will finish strong. Great student leaders help others finish strong.
When you finish strong, it serves as a model for your team. This isn’t just about you, but about all of the people whom you lead. A successful ending should be a team effort. Work to keep your people engaged, motivated, and connected to the goals and vision of the team right up to the end. Nothing will deflate team morale more than to have members of a team slowly fade away before the year is up.
Finishing strong means pursuing commitment over convenience.
The difference between a leader and a follower is found in the willingness one has to accept responsibility. You may have some “good reasons” for shirking your responsibilities as it gets close to the end. But you only miss out on the sense of satisfaction and personal pride of seeing your responsibility through to the end. Karen Lamb notes the sense of regret that people feel when they choose convenience over commitment saying, “A year from now you may wish you had started today.”
If you’ve read all three posts in this series, you probably realize that finishing strong is a principle that you need to follow in everything you do. Your student leadership year gives you a chance to practice this principle. You’ll encounter all kinds of positions and projects throughout your life where you’ll be tempted to shortcut the journey. Do the hard work on the back end to see your commitments through.
The best piece of advice you can take at this time of year: Don’t give up!