Follow Through

The work of following through to completion on a project will not be as exciting as it seemed in the beginning when we started the project.

Sometimes the future can seem like a locked iron gate that we cannot either open or break through. This feeling can stem from our reluctance to follow through with our plans of manifesting our will. Follow through is typically difficult. Follow through does not have the excitement of first steps of initiating a project or the celebration of the present when a project starts to take shape and fit nicely in our lives. Follow through also does not have the self-growth of our recent past that we may look back on in satisfaction.

When it seems dark and the sun is dim, it is up to us to shine more brightly. Dig in. Follow through.

This can be illustrated by renovation projects I have done on my home. There comes a point in the renovation where most of the big stuff is done and I can sit back in satisfaction looking at those newly hung closet doors, for example. But, the project is not yet finished. There are still transitions to install on the floor, baseboards perhaps to put in, or other stuff that needs doing before the project is officially done. This is the follow through. The toughest mile, so to speak.

Even the middle period of transformation has more natural motivation to our minds than those important final stages.

We know it is going to be difficult and take time, but the difficulty is all in our minds in the present moment. After all, in the present, we have not even stepped forward to challenge that boarded up or locked up future, or final days of renovating, as the case may be. We are still in the present moment and mostly like in a good place with lots of reasons to feel good about ourselves and our work.

When it comes to big changes in our lives, such as starting a new business or career, we can get to a point where the future looks gruelling and scary, and we may want to stop the forward motion needed to see the project to completion. We may want to stay in the present or perhaps live in the past that has been full of reward and growth that has gotten us to this follow through point.

We should celebrate when things are coming together for us and savour these moments.

As a teacher, I have seen this fear of follow through in action.  At the end of the term when my students are so close to graduating, there are always a few who drop out and do not finish the course. It is a fear of those future risks and potentially scary new worlds that will open for them once they graduate and also the worry of all the work that is still yet to be done! The irony is that after putting in so much effort to get to this final point, the remaining work is not that daunting as we may make it so in our heads.

I remember when finishing one of my CDs a few years back. I received the final mixes and was not happy with them. I was emotionally and financially drained from the project. In my mind, the thought of going back into the studio to fix things and get this record closer to how I had envisioned it seemed impossible. How could I do it? How could I afford it? Was it good enough? I knew it was wrong when I signed off on the mixes, but my mind had convinced me that I was done, over. Time to move on. I quit before the last mile was complete. I have been kicking myself for this mistake ever since.

Stay at your post; stay the course; follow through with your work. Others may stop you temporarily but only you can stop yourself permanently

I should have realized that all the barriers were in my head. I needed to step back into the studio and just kept going until it was as good as I could get it. It likely would not have taken too long or cost that much. Yet, like many of us, we fail when our mind creates these barriers for us that seem, but are not, impenetrable. Especially when we have come so far along the path forward already! By this time (when the follow through period arrives) we have already proven ourselves as powerful and capable. That mental barrier needs to go down as we step forward into the future we have created for ourselves. As the saying goes, others can stop us temporarily, but only we can stop us permanently. And it is doubly sad when we stop ourselves so close to that finishing line that will lead on to many other finishing lines down the road. So, follow through in that last, toughest, and perhaps bleak mile. Remember that the hardest struggle before we get going is all in our heads! Make those heels move. Follow through.

“The last mile is the hardest.” This is true because our minds make it so. The last mile is just another mile, no different that the previous mile in reality.