My last must be my best. ~ Og Mandino, The Greatest Salesman in the World Scroll V
We live in a world where action trumps all, where results count..results are what matter most. The final score, time, or amount is what we remember..because it is how we mark our progress. The modern era of baseball pays the best “closers” millions of dollars a year to pitch..about 8-15 pitches a couple of times a week..usually about 5 minutes worth of work. Runners strive to develop a strong “kick” in order to finish races in peak form.
Businesses look to have a strong 4th quarter to finish the year on a high note and pay a strong dividend to investors. Heck, we taught Cole the “pick up” game so he that he looks forward to putting his toys away each night before bed..finish strong.
My trainer and coach from my playing days, Sven, taught me that “anyone can start and play a good match, but winning took ‘finishing strong’ and finishing strong was an art form.” At his urging I developed a three-serve routine specifically for the end of matches, to be used when I was just three points from winning. I was to pick up the pace and take as little time as possible between points, and it usually had me aiming to hit three “crack aces”, which were unreturnable serves. The reason for this was to apply as much pressure on my opponent and give him as little time possible to react. I needed to “shut the door” and finish strong.
What does it take to finish strong? I guess it depends on the person and circumstances, but as a general rule of thumb, here are a few qualities I believe to be helpful in finishing whatever task we are engaged in on a strong note. I am coupling them with videos of some of the greatest finishes I have seen in my lifetime, most of them are from sporting events.
Clear Thinking – if you are not thinking clearly, the moment may overtake you and prevent you from taking the actions necessary to see the job through
Grit and Determination and Focus – you may not always be at your best when it is time to finish..but you must. You must summon whatever “it” is inside of you that enables you to “turn it on” one more time. No matter the circumstances and your present condition, you will override them and finish strong
Belief – you must believe that you will finish strong, you must have faith that you will finish strong, you must see yourself finishing strong
A Purpose Greater than Yourself – Can’t or won’t do it for yourself? Fine. Find a purpose greater than yourself and finish strong for “it.” No matter who you are..someone or something needs you, right now, to be at your best, even if it is the last thing you do..so do it for them. Finishing strong may serve as inspiration for someone who is observing you..maybe a spouse or a child. Be “the” example they want to emulate and do it for them.
Don Juan Matus taught Casteneda that a warrior makes every act his “last battle on Earth”, and being as it is his or her last battle..it must be her/his best. Why? Just because, that is why. We are going to act in any case, and anyone worth his/her salt must take responsibility for being alive in this awesome, sometimes terrifying, world. How do we take responsibility? By summoning the absolute best of ourselves at that given time and putting our personal stamp on the life we lead.
Final Thought: making our last effort our best effort and finishing strong also serves to honor those who have come before us and helped us get to this point. The entire MKMMA staff has invested heavily in each of us with their time, thought, feelings, and intention of helping to make our lives better through this incredible program, which is life-changing if we let it be so. Giving anything less than our absolute best and finishing strong would be a disservice to them and our fellow MKMMA partners.
Final Thought 1.5: So when exactly do we need to be great? You don’t have to be great this year..or this month..or this week..or even today..you can start slow and perform with mediocrity. Not knowing when our “last effort” will be..we can take it one step at a time..so we just need to be great RIGHT NOW.
Keep the wind at your back..and if it ain’t..lean in to it..
Thank You Mark, Davene, and Trish. You have made an impact on me that will last more than one lifetime, and I appreciate you for that.
But all I ever settled for is that we’re born to live and then to die, and… we got to do it alone, each in his own way. And I guess that’s why we got to love those people who deserve it like there’s no tomorrow. ‘Cause when you get right down to it – there isn’t. Louden Swain