Winners Are Finishers

You’ve probably heard the most popular poem that has ever graced a living room wall. It’s always beautifully framed. It touches every emotion that has ever wrenched your gut and taunted you when life feels about as good as sucking a concentrated lemon. The poem has the power to help you see the silver lining in the sky when your forecast calls for storms of doubt. The title says it all in just two short, simple words that can make all the difference in your destiny.

DON’T QUIT.

I won’t repeat the poem here. You can Google it easy enough.

Or maybe it’s on your own wall.

Have you really given thought to those words when you’ve been fired from your job? How about that day when your spouse wakes you up because she’s got unbearable abdominal pain, needs to go to the hospital, and you don’t have insurance? And what if that same day when you come home to make arrangements for the rest of your life, your daughter checks the messages and finds out her grandmother has died?

As crazy as that second scenario sounds, it happened just that way to me.

It’s not that hard to persevere when you’re dealing with trifles. Sure, you get miffed when you get behind that ninety year old woman who insists on driving herself to the grocery store and thinks the speed limit is 25 mph when it’s 35. The nerve of her! You might even chuckle when someone has a brief laugh at your expense. You can see the “big picture” then. So, what happens to you when life hits you like a freight train?

It reveals the size of your staying power.

Recently I’ve heard commercials advertising dehydrated food packs you can use during hard times to provide you with “food security.” As important as that can be, how about setting aside resources for your mental heath when emotional famine strikes?

Here’s how you can do that.

First, when you make a commitment, count the cost. If you want to retire comfortably, the cost is the amount of money you need to invest over your working years to fund the life you want to live. Costs along the way are the things you won’t do now so you will be able to do other things later. Ask yourself if you’re willing to pay all the fees associated with getting where you want to go. If the answer is a resounding yes, then commit.

Second, when the inevitable challenge comes, remember this. Challenges require choices. Now if you’ve done number one, you’re committed to stay the course. So when you have a problem, you deal with it instead of thinking, “How do I get out of this?”

Here is some help to deal with problems. Talk to someone you trust. And be sure to get the truth; don’t just get your ears tickled. If you are a person of faith, pray. Then listen to what God tells you.

Third, cultivate hope that your vision will become reality. There are two ways you can do this. Focus on the big vision you have for your life and your team. You may have to change direction, but you don’t have to change your decision to get there. Once you’ve fixed your vision, focus on how the hardships will make you stronger once you make it through them. Adversity strengthens us like exercise strengthens our bodies. There’s no pill you can take to do that for you.

It may not be easy on your trip to the finish line. But if you want to win, you have to cross it. Will you stay the course? If you do, you can draw from the rewards for the rest of your life.

Winners are finishers.