I like starting things. Starting things is sexy and exciting, at the beginning of each new project things feel brimming with potential and momentum. I’m great at starting things! But you know what I’m not so good at?
It’s true, and I know I’m not alone. A lot of people I talk with say that the hardest part of any work comes at about the 80% mark. By this point the initial enthusiasm has worn off and things no longer feels so sexy. By the 80% point you might be grappling with self-doubt or apathy or burn out. Maybe you’re even wondering wtf you were thinking when you started. Maybe you kind of want to give up.
A few years ago my friends and I used to do this silly workout DVD hosted by the trainer Jillian Michaels. Near the end of the workout routine Jillian says “you don’t get to the finish line and quit! That’s when you put in even more than when you started!” This line became a sort of mantra my friends and I would half-jokingly quote to each other, but silly as it is, this quote has stayed with me.
Right now I have a few projects languishing even though the finish line is in sight. One of those projects involves updating all of my Wild Unknown card interpretations – over the last year or so, I’ve updated all of them except the suit of wands. That’s only 16 out of 78 cards remaining…yet I haven’t touched the posts in months! Sure, I’ve been working on other things, but that’s just an excuse. The real reason I haven’t finished the posts yet is that…
FINISHING PROJECTS IS HARD. It’s satisfying, yes. It’s fulfilling, yes. It’s rewarding, yes. But it’s certainly not always easy. You’ve got to push through your resistance. You’ve got to remember why you started. You’ve got to keep putting one foot in front of the other (either metaphorically or literally). You’ve got to keep doing the work.
Steven Pressfield talks about this in one of my favorite books, The War of Art. Pressfield writes:
“The danger is greatest when the finish line is in sight. At this point, Resistance knows we are about to beat it. It hits the panic button. It marshals one last assault and slams us with everything it’s got. The professional must be alert for this counterattack. Be wary at the end. Don’t open that bag of wind.”
So, comrades, this is a reminder for you as well as for me. I’m re-committing to finishing updating those Wild Unknown posts. It shall be done, I speak it out loud. What is it that you’ve been resisting even though the end is in sight? Speak it out loud, dedicate yourself to getting it DONE. Remind yourself that you don’t get to the finish line and quit! You CAN do this. Prep yourself. Crack yer knuckles. Tell resistance and excuses to take a seat. And press onwards.
We’ve got this.