Persistence: See the job through… to the end!

Josh Billings once said,

The usefulness of a small postage stamp is in its ability to stick to one thing until it gets there.”

Notice that the utility of a postage stamp is not sticking until it gets off to a good start, or sticking until it gets near the end, but sticking until it has finished its complete job.  How often have you seen someone do great work to get a project off to a good start, make good progress during the middle of the project, but fail to complete the job at the very end?  I heard of a man once that built his own house.  He did a great job doing most of the work himself.  During the period of several months, the infrastructure was complete, the frame was completed, the roof was finished, the sheetrock finished, all electrical and plumbing work done… all on schedule and on budget.  Finally, the house was close enough to finished for the family to move in.  All he had left to do was complete the final finish and trim work (molding around the doors and windows, backsplash in the kitchen, a few odds here, a few ends there).  The home was 99% complete and well done.  But, because the final details were not complete, the house (e.g., job) was not complete.  He procrastinated several months to finished those final, small details.  And, those final details make the difference between a beautiful home and one that appears undone and not finished.

I worked with an individual once that often asked, “What do you mean by complete.”  He asked this because to some, complete meant that they had started the process by completing necessary paperwork (never mind that the work had not been finished).  He asked this because to others, complete meant that “my part” is complete, despite the fact that other actions were needed before the total project was complete.  We need to adopt the definition of complete to mean that everything is done and the work is totally finished.

Are you persistent to the end?  Do you lose momentum and motivation when most of the work is done and fail to complete the final details?  Those are the very details that others often notice or that might define the final quality of your work.  Let’s resolve to remain persistent “until we get there.”

Thanks for everything you do day-in and day-out.  The grind of the details of life is a challenge to maintain, but worth it in the end.  Have a terrific day!



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