Posted by Andrew VanderPloeg
I’m going to risk borrowing today’s blog post topic from another, far more popular blogger. Two days ago, Jon Acuff of ‘Stuff Christians Like’ fame, posted on his blog about the value of being people who finish projects, not just start them. I feel ok with borrowing the topic because it’s actually something I’ve been thinking about quite a lot over the past 12 months.
In recent years, I’ve noticed a trend for many people to categorize themselves as starters (idea generators) and not finishers (plan executors) and I can’t help but wonder if a good chunk of people who say this really are more than just starters but have unwittingly succumbed to a modern culture of Twitter-esque attention spans and loose commitments.
As a culture, we generally struggle to exercise those muscles of discipline that carry us from start to finish on a given project. Even the movements we become involved with on the grounds of our convictions and passions can get stomped out by the cultural equivalent of boardroom boredom.
But the subtlety that I fear has crept in is to label the lack of discipline to carry a plan out to completion as ‘just being a starter’. We apply the label of entrepreneur to that and make it sound like a formal role but we use that term wrongly. Even entrepreneurs will tell you, what follows the ‘starting’ is an incredible amount of work to bring the idea to completion.
Last week, I had the opportunity to sit with a friend from Dallas who is an entrepreneur and as we talked, he shared a revelation that he’s had in recent years about entrepreneurism. He said that at some point in recent years, he realized that you don’t have the next big thing, until you have the next big thing.
Think about that. You don’t have the next big thing, until you have the next big thing. In other words, as a starter, you’ll never have the next big thing. But as a finisher, you might.
So to bring this all back around, I'll close by echoing Jon Acuff’s challenge:
“There are a million things you can finish. Some might take you all year. Some might take you a month. Some might take you 10 minutes, but they’re 10 minutes you’ve feared for your entire life.
What are you going to finish?”