The importance of finishing strong

Just finish strong!

  How many of us have started something with the full measure of energy and focus only to see it dissipate with time. We can get distracted by the early success or difficulties that are prone to show up.    

Usain Bolt information Source: http://hubpages.com/hub/-Usain-Bolt    

Usain Bolt, a tall lanky Jamaican sprinter in the summer Olympics dazzled the 91,000 spectators in China’s Bird’s Nest stadium in the Summer of 2008 to win his country’s first gold in the 100 metes dash in a record time of 9.69 seconds. Bolt was seen to slow down and wave his arms in celebration before the finish line on his world-record 100 meters, prompting some to think he could turn in an even better time in the future. Listen to this: he is running world record time, and he slows down to slap his chest and celebrate before crossing the finish line in the 100 metres race.  A missed opportunity for not finishing strong were confirmed with research by Hans Eriksen and his people at the Institute of Theoretical Astrophysics at the University of Oslo. They analyzed Bolt’s position, acceleration and velocity in comparison with second-place-finisher Thompson, and figured that the runner could have clocked 9.55 if he had not slowed down to celebrate. “    

Early Celebration

Some may say his effort was good enough to set a new world record but it was not his best effort. He simply didn’t finish strong because he celebrated winning too early.    

Since I started running marathons, one can quickly learn that the last 6 miles can be the best opportunity to either lose time or to finish with a great time. I heard a pace guide tell her group that you must run the first 20 miles with 50% of our energy and save the last 50% for those last six miles. She understood the importance lesson of finishing strong.    

I’m reminded that so many records are won in the fourth quarter of the year by maintaining the focus to finish strong. So why do so many people give up late when it comes to the important things in life. Whether it is building a relationship, exercise, dieting or closing out an important project. Why don’t we run hard in that last part? I think we back off because we see some early success and lose our focus or determination to take it to even a greater level.    

I was working in college in a stove plant and my boss gave  me a daily production level that I had to do each night to reach 100%. After about two weeks, my skill grew where that number was reached in the first two hours of a four-hour shift. So I tried to double that number in my shift. I never forget the words of one of my coworkers, he said “if you show them what you can really do then they will expect it all the time , so slow down in the last hour.”    

This strategy is unfortunately where most people live their lives. So how do we stay focused to finish strong? Here are some tips:    

1. The race is won or loss in the last stretch – Setting the right expectation for that last part is critical to your success. Too many leaders relax in that final stage.    

2. Encouragement is a key to staying focus. Many young college admission counselors want to coast into registration because they already feel they have worked hard enough and simply want to rest before the next cycle begins. This coasting doesn’t allow them to really reach their true potential or gain the recognition they desire.    

3.  Second wind is important to finishing strong. We all get burned out but finding that secondary burst of energy and drive requires real determination.   In most cases, it is a mental test not to allow yourself to give in to how you feel but to mentally focus even more at that stage.    

The ability to close strong will be the different between winning and losing that promotion or final grade you want. It will allow you to stand out among your peers. Giving it 100% will get you better results which always lead to greater job satisfaction and personal fulfillment.  We have all heard the old saying – you get out of it what you put into it. This is so true in the fourth quarter.    

What are the areas in your life where you struggling to finish strong? Make a commitment today to take them to the next level. One step at a time – it will be worth the difference. I promise… Your comments or feedback are encouraged.  GTR

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