It’s well known that the first step on the path to success is often the hardest and most consequential. If we don’t make those first steps, then we never begin at all. Yet while people put so much importance on how to get going on their goals, they sometimes forget that following through is just as important.
We can all attest to having seen an unfinished work of art or construction. An unfinished building, however majestic to look at, is not a building. In reality, it’s actually closer to ruins.
While the first step gets things in motion, it’s following through and pushing ourselves into those last steps on the journey that can count the most.
What benefit is a good job if it is not finished?
Do not rob this world of the beauty of your finished work. We’ve all worked hard to cover so much ground, only for that weariness to start setting in. The closer you advance to the finish line, the harder it is to keep moving – your energy depletes, your body aches, and it seems like you won’t be able to make it.
Mental Resilience and Endurance
Mental endurance will get you to the finish line.
We aren’t just talking about physical endurance, but mental. One of the rarely discussed aspects of success is that one must have a thick skin and be resilient, not just to the thoughts and opinions of others, but in order to keep going when it gets tough.
Try to cultivate an attitude that once you set something in motion, you see it to the finish line.
Practice reinforcing your goals and what made you want them in the first place. Thinking through what you will gain from the goal, as well as what you will lose out on if you were to give up, will help give you the motivation to continue.
We aren’t suggesting you try to force a goal into completion if it isn’t working. Always be sure to consider where you are in relation to your goals, and whether your current attempts are working. Rather than changing the goalpost themselves, try changing your angle of approach.
Jan Koum, the co-founder of WhatsApp, started out very poor. When he was 16, he moved from a small village in Ukraine to the US with his mother. Upon arriving in the US, his mother worked as a babysitter while he was a cleaner in a grocery store.
Jan tried many careers in his lifetime, from working as a security tester, to programming, and eventually even working for Yahoo. In the end, he channeled all his actions and finished strong when he created his own company WhatsApp, which he later sold to Facebook for 19 billion dollars.
The journey to achieving such ends can take us on many paths, but Jan Koum’s example shows us that even if we have tried and failed many times before, switching up our goals time and time again, we can still find a renewed focus and determination to carry out our goals and find success.
Strength of Character is Just as Important
It is always hard to get up after we’ve fallen; most of us tend to give up when things get rough. However, it is through tough times that character is built. Again, the determination and resilience to achieve your goals comes from trying and failing, and trying again. It is forged within you; you strengthen yourself with time.
The story of an American distance runner, Abbey D’Agostino, has inspired people all over the world.
Abbey tripped over a fallen opponent in the Olympic 5k semi-final race and injured her right knee. You can imagine the emotions flooding though her; thoughts of giving up, or limping to the finish line, or blaming her opponent for her loss in a spat of anger. But Abbey was made of sterner character.
She got up from her fall, helping her opponent get up as well, before limping to the finish line. This might seem an easy feat, but in a moment where you are so close to achieving everything you have worked for, would you willing to risk that to help someone else? A competitor, even?
Developing your character will do so much for you. As we said earlier, it’s not always the physical side of things but the mental that makes the most difference. Someone with strong character won’t stay down, but will get up, get moving, and complete their goals. They will help people along the way.
One main reason why people never achieve their goals is that, at the beginning, they never sat down and considered whether they had all they needed to get there. They never asked themselves whether character development and cultivating mental resilience was a part of the process.
They get stuck somewhere along the line because of that missing piece. Before building your house, be sure to gather all the necessary materials. Leave nothing to chance.
Plan out your goals not only for what you want to achieve in the world, but for yourself as well.
Use Your Support Systems When You Need To
Despite all we’ve discussed above, sometimes no matter how much self-work we do, it just doesn’t seem to be enough. We have hit a wall or a plateau. Things don’t seem to be moving, and no amount of resilience or determination or good character is helping shift us from the rut.
In such times, we need to look to our support systems. We all need people who believe in us, encourage us, and challenge us to grow. Sometimes we can only see the problem from one angle, and we need the help of mentors and friends to help us get un-stuck.
Surround yourself with people who challenge you to be better and who believe in you. If your goal is a worthy one, you’ll probably need all the encouragement you can get. Look to mentors both in your life and online (research is your friend, here) that can help guide you over hurdles.
Finally, consider your friends and family as allies in this process. They are sure to be there for you when needed. If they aren’t, respect those boundaries but cultivate new friends who share your same passions and are available to help you progress further. Online chat groups can be a useful tool for this.
There’s nothing like the satisfaction of finishing a project, sealing off a deal, or getting to the finish line. We often forget about the mental resilience, strength of character and support systems we need in order to finish strong, make an impact, and change the world. But with a renewed focus on these aspects, you can use them to achieve anything.