I was a track kid. My god-father took my brothers and me to Poly High, my alma mater, when I was about 7, signed us up to be on the Long Beach Sprinters track team. I wasn’t too sure if it was something I wanted to do right away but I guess I liked it because I continued to run until my sophomore year of high school. My coaches throughout my track seasons were some of the best. They were the type of coaches that did all they could do to help improve the runners’ performance. Early on, I learned I was bowing out of the race slightly before the finish line. If I was far ahead of my competitors it wasn’t a big deal. If the race was close then I may forfeit my chance in winning the race if I bow out too early. My start was amazing but my finish not so much. I wasn’t a good finisher at all.
Did this poor finishing trend spill over into other areas of my life right way? I am not sure. I am, however, noticing the same trend now in my personal adult life. I am not a finisher. I can look back and look at all the books I started to read and even books I have started to right but have neglected them for reasons unknown. I have started new projects and started them very well. I have been extremely enthusiastic and passionate in the beginning but when the process became grueling I would bow out before it was over.
There are probably tons of reasons people don’t finish; a loss of interest, a lack of tenacity and no zeal. For me, most times, almost every time it’s fear. How can you be afraid to finish a book? I am so happy you asked. Normally I select books fiction or nonfiction with the expectation that what I read will somehow hold me accountable to improve who I am. The material would make me responsible for the information I digested. I would the. Have to hold myself to a different, higher, new standard. So instead I'd completing what I have started, I bail.
"We walk away from our dreams afraid that we may fail or worse yet, afraid that we may succeed."
This goes beyond book reading and writing, as it took plenty time for me to even complete this piece. It is never too late for one to have an "aha" moment. The moment, for me, may have come a year or so ago but the boldness to admit it has suddenly come. My problem is not so much finishing, but the it is the fear of finishing.
I am afraid of failing. I have asked myself thousands of "what ifs?" What if it does not work? What if no one supports it? What if I don't meet the standard or reach the expectations of others? What if I fail?
On the contrary, I fear succeeding. With success comes responsibility. Responsibility to continue succeeding, responsibility to help others succeed, responsibility to keep the momentum. What if I can't uphold the standard? What if I get distracted. All legitimate questions but they are mere excuses not to finish. What if I don't fail? What if I am able to keep the momentum? I guess I won't really know unless and until I actually finish.
As of now, I will begin to finish all of my open ended projects. I will no longer be afraid of the outcomes. I will learn to approach the finish line just as I have approached the starting line; on fire, juiced up and ready to go. As time surpasses I will no longer be apprehensive of what is to come upon completion. I will take each stride as it comes, one step at a time. I know it might take a while to overcome the fear but in the meantime I will learn to push past the fear, to work beyond it, to allow it to become my motivation to complete what I start. After all what is the point of starting something if you aren't going to finish it?