The Sunday Mail
Too many things are undone, half-done or poorly done by people who are looking for more things to do.
Greatness occurs when you start with a definite goal that you pursue until at the end you can exclaim, “Done!”
It is not enough to think, you have to do. It is not enough to start, you have to arrive at your destination. It is not enough to strategise, you have to implement. Intentions without finishing actions leave you disappointed and tired. The world is full of unfinished business, incomplete things and sketchy ideas.
There is a litany of excuses, explanations and long-winded stories with one global theme — “I was not responsible for the unfinished things. I was a mere victim of circumstances.”
The universe of mediocrity is full of things begun and never consummated, pregnancies conceived and never delivered, subscriptions made without attendance, races entered but half-run. Intentions are a good start but you have to finish. List your unfinished issues, pinpoint them and start doing something to finish them.
Herd your cattle
We are all herdsmen. Find comfort and interest in what you herd. When you set your goals, herd them until you get to the desired destination.
Do not be so absorbed with your own thoughts, playthings and destructions that you forget to herd your goals and shepherd your dreams.
Difficulties, obstacles and temptations come, but it is up to you to permit them to take your eyes off your herd.
In the book “Things Fall Apart”, Chinua Achebe quotes a popular Nigerian proverb: “Eneke the bird says that since men have learnt to shoot without missing, he has learnt to fly without perching.” Copy Eneke.
Whatever your circumstances, deal with them and stay on course.
You may have to move slowly, but keep moving anyway until you get to your destination. Whatever challenges come your way, face them with bold and determined action. You cannot excuse yourself from responsibility and just live things boring on the fire.
Whatever you blame, you empower it to make you miserable. Refuse to allow other people make you miserable when there is still so much to do.
Focus on your goals and herd them towards your desired greatness.
The golf shot
The game of golf is a game of determining your goal, aiming, addressing the ball, taking shots, making corrections and going for the cup. Then repeat until you get to the end.
The question for any golfer is always, “What is your most important shot?”
The game of golf mirrors the game of life. Some think that the most important shot is the first one, the tee-off. Others think it is the last one, the putting. Sometimes in life, as in golf, you find yourself trapped in a bunker (a sand trap) and at other times you get lost in the woods.
Wherever your ball lands, keep playing on. Every experienced golfer knows that the most important shot is the next shot that he will play. Read that again, your most important shot is not the first one, or the last one, but your next one.
This is because the shot you will play next will define where you will end. Whatever disappointment you face, take the next shot out of the woods. Keep facing forward up to the finish line. Never let disappointments along the way tempt you to quit and go home.
Take the next shot, then another, and another. So it is with life. You have to keep charging forward until you reach your destination. You have to finish what you started.
Do not abandon your game mid-way. Your next action must get you closer to your goals and the finish line.
Do not be discouraged by the mammoth task ahead of you, you can only play one hole at a time. Focus on this shot that you are taking now. Life is all about the next shot. Take the next step and do not stop. Do not park where life left you or situations dumped you. Take the next shot and keep moving.
This is what will take you closer to the finish line. Your greatness is beckoning.
The golden pot
In order to finish what you started, make the end (the reward) worthwhile. Give yourself an incentive that will pull you to the finish like a powerful magnet and jolt you out of your complacency and comfort zone. The finish must be holding something that is so important for you that you are willing to stack everything to get it. See beyond the work, sweat, labour and pain. Focus on the reward, the end game.
Over the years, there are countless stories that have been told about the golden pot at the end of the rainbow.
Knowing that there is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, you are willing to go on the hunt. So it is with anything you start. Define the pot of gold at the end of your rainbow. See the reward at the end of the effort. Make it golden and interesting.
When you know that that gold pot is waiting for you, you cannot just sit and tire along the way.
You keep running. You will always complain of demotivation if the reward that you have set for yourself is meaningless to you.
Meaningful outcomes inspire determined action.
If there is anything that you started but did not complete, review its worth to you. Make the outcome appealing and you will be motivated to finish. Another way of looking at this issue is setting for yourself a high penalty for failure. Define it in the grimmest sense in your current environment.
Feel the pain of doing nothing until you cannot just sit still and generate excuses. Make the prospect of failure so terrible that you are catapulted into action. Ask yourself what you will miss by not finishing.
If finishing and not finishing both feel the same, throw away that goal. Pick a goal that you will feel.
To get to the golden pot, banish all your excuses and burn your boats if you have to. Do everything that it takes to get back on track. Once you have started there is no turning back. When you hold the plough, you cannot look back.
This is all like having a pregnancy. You cannot be half pregnant. You are either pregnant or you are not. If you are pregnant you are pregnant. Once you are pregnant, you are in a process.
Once you start, continue and persist until the end. Aim for the end game and outplay everything that would hold you back.
Review and refocus
Look back at your motivation and intentions when you began. What then happened to the fire that you had at the beginning? What changed? Why did you stop or give up? How have you been progressing? Look at the way you are playing your game of life or business like a coach watching his team playing.
Have you been playing a coordinated game? How is your defence holding up? What about your goal distribution and attempts at goals? Whatever problems you uncover, face them. Make the necessary changes for you to pick momentum again.
Let your goals cover the long, medium and short term. Break the huge goals into small manageable steps.
Pick a little to do and let that help you get your momentum back. Keep measuring and ticking against your plan of action.
Make a public commitment and announce your intended destination. When you make a public commitment, you create social pressure that helps you persist.
Set short milestones inside the overall big goals. All the time be achieving and celebrating, building momentum towards the bigger picture.
You do not have to wait for months or years for your first cheer and celebration.
To finish what has been outstanding for many months or years now, you need a good dose of faith. Believe in God and believe in yourself. Have that powerful throb of belief in the possibilities.
One singer sang: “When Jesus says ‘Yes!’ Nobody can say no!” It is faith that carries you in your darkest hour.
Carry this faith with you. When Jesus is saying yes, then challenge anything and everything around you to the finish line.
There is no reward for merely thinking about something and doing nothing about it. Finish what remains undone.
Milton Kamwendo is an international transformational and inspirational speaker, author and coach. He can be reached at: [email protected] and Twitter: @MiltonKamwendo or WhatsApp at: 0772422634.