Unfinished Business


One of my good friends, “Mike”, recently told a story. In the past, Mike and “Charlie” had become very good friends. They had much in common and their families enjoyed activities together. Mike and Charlie often met for meals and, essentially, shared life’s ups-and-downs with each other. That all ended when Mike and Charlie found themselves on opposite sides of a community issue. Both were passionate about their position and, eventually, they drifted apart until they rarely spoke or saw each other except at community events. About a year ago after Mike had moved to another city, he just felt compelled one day to reconcile with Charlie. Mike was visiting from out-of-town and intentionally sought Charlie at an event they were both attending. Mike spoke with Charlie, they shook hands, and both admitted that they missed their friendship. Sadly, Charlie recently died. Mike said that had he not sought to reconcile with Charlie, he would have lived the rest of his life feeling as though there was “unfinished business” between him and Charlie.

Unfinished business… I have always been a list-maker. I create a “to do” list and work through the list until I can check off every item… typically, the same day. At the end of a day when something was not checked off the list, I feel as though something is undone. However, at the end of each day, you can be pretty confident that tomorrow is another day and another opportunity to clean the slate.

There are times, however, when you might never have that chance to finish a task that you know you wanted to complete or needed to complete. Had Mike not made a special effort to reconcile with Charlie, the opportunity would have been lost forever.

Unfinished business can exist in a year, in a career, or in a life. I remember a former colleague named David. David was very good at his job, but had decided early in his career that he was not open to relocation, even for a significant promotion. David did well in his career, but always wondered how things might have been different had he and his family been open to relocation. I remember David seeing others, with less ability and potential, pass him by in his career simply because they were willing to relocate. Though David made the decision he felt was best in his career, he always wondered if his career was limited… if there was unfinished business.

Life open poses opportunities to make new friendships, restore broken ones, or to express unspoken thoughts and feelings. Then, when we look back, we feel that somewhere along the line, we had business to do that we left undone.

So, think about any unfinished business in your life today. This might be a good day to begin checking those things off your list. In case you aren’t immediately thinking of any unfinished business in your life, let me list a few possibilities in the hope that you might become motivated to finish today, what you should have done weeks, months, or years ago. Losing the opportunity you have today may remain one of your life’s great regrets.

Which of these do you need to do today:

  1. Call or send a note to your aging parents or grandparents. How I wish I could speak to mine just one more time!
  2. Spend some quality time with your spouse, son, daughter, grandchild, or other loved one. Don’t forget to tell them what they mean to you!
  3. Make that overdue call or send that note to a friend, colleague, or acquaintance. Don’t assume that you’ll have another chance next week because those chances rarely come. Tell that person what they mean to you and thank them for being a part of your life. There is someone in your life that needs to hear from you today.
  4. Organize your life. Don’t leave a mess for someone else to clean up!
  5. Volunteer to meet a need for someone else or an organization that does good work. If you wait until the timing is perfect, you’ll never do it.
  6. Don’t assume that your spouse knows how much you love them. Make sure that there is never any doubt that you do! Tell them… and do it often!
  7. Find a way to serve someone else in a special way. It might be someone that has gone above-and-beyond for you. It might be someone that could never repay you. Don’t ignore or waste a chance to make life better for someone else.
  8. Do that special project you have been promising to do. Why wait when you know you can and should get it done!
  9. Thank a teacher, police officer, military veteran, mentor, or emergency personnel for their service.
  10. Take time to do something you’ve been wanting to do for yourself. If you had started taking guitar lessons five years ago when you wanted to, you would be pretty accomplished by now. Don’t let another five years go by without adding a new skill, experiencing something new, or gaining that new knowledge you’ve have had on your own list.

Consider the unfinished business that exists in your life today and challenge yourself to get it completed soon. Today might be the only chance you’ll ever have to make it happen.

3 thoughts on “Unfinished Business

  1. Thanks for continuing to send these Eldon. I really needed to read this advice today. I started as new volunteer for an organization I like as another volunteer role was ending. And I am moving forward on getting my MBA. #10 was what I needed to hear today for sure.

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