The Joy of Finishing

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By Bill Auxier, Ph.D.

Believe it or not, I have completed 5 marathons.  Yes, the kind of marathon that is 26.2 miles long.  If you looked at me, you would not think I look like a marathon runner.  In fact, you might question whether I have ever run in any marathon let alone finishing 5.  I simply don’t look like a marathon runner.  I have to admit that I run slowly; my marathon times range from 4 hours and 20 minutes to 4 hours and 50 minutes.  In all 5 marathons, I witnessed runners dropping out of the race.  They did not finish.  For me, no matter how much my body ached, particularly after 20 miles, dropping out and quitting was not an option.  I had worked too long and too hard to get to the starting line; I wasn’t going to let anything get in the way of my getting to the finish line.  Once I stepped up to the starting line, my goal was to experience the joy of crossing the finish line.


Have you ever met someone who is not good at finishing projects or completing tasks?  Do you know someone like that?  Are you like that?  I’m good at finishing stuff I want to do, no so good at finishing stuff I don’t want to do.  Many don’t finish because they sabotage their efforts through self-doubt or a lack of confidence.  Not finishing becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Leaders can help others come to know the joy of finishing.  John Maxwell offers guidelines to do just that in his book Good Leaders Ask Great Questions.  Maxwell offers these five suggestions:

  1. Only finished work should be rewarded.
  2. Show others the big picture and how finishing will have a positive impact on the big picture.
  3. Team up poor finishers with good finishers.
  4. Give them tools to schedule their time.
  5. Hold people accountable.

You can use these suggestions for yourself as well.

Effective leaders know the joy of finishing.  They know that joy for themselves and they know that joy for the people they serve.  Effective leaders bring the joy of finishing!

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