How to Finish What You Start
Do you struggle to finish what you start?
What is that one thing you've been promising yourself you would finish; is it a side hustle? A passion project? A business you're going to launch?
That's a wild number!
I recently saw a shocking statistic that said 81% of Americans feel they have a book in them and that they should write it. Think about it; almost four out of every five Americans are walking around right now, carrying a message inside them. Just in the USA there 200 million people who aspire to authorship.
However, when we look at how many books are released every year, the amount of people who follow through on that desire is not even close to that number.
Many people have this dream or goal for themselves and maybe they even get around to writing it and take time to sketch it out and have the outline for their manuscript. Perhaps they’ve even picked the title, but they never put pen to paper or hit those keys on the computer.
They certainly never release their book.
Now, hang with me if you're reading this thinking, “Josh, I don't want to write a book”; this is not just with a problem with authors, but it applies to everything. I was curious to see if it was similar for people who are reading books, and I found only 60% of books purchased are ever opened.
Think about that for a moment: most people who buy a book will never open it, and even fewer will finish it if they start.
Where am I going with this?
There is Dominion in Finishing
I first learned this concept from Dan McCollum who wrote an excellent book called Time Bending. I've used that personally to power through projects that I've committed myself to. In fact, when I was writing my book, The Standard: Discovering Jesus as the Standard for Masculinity, I had on a white board in my office in big letters, “There is Dominion in Finishing”, and I'd be forced to look at those words every day. I would realize that every time I write and every time I take one step closer to completing my book and launching what I wanted to get into the world, I was taking dominion, not only in life, but within myself.
It's easier to start something than it is to finish.
Think about it for a minute; how many times have you started something? Maybe you even gave a verbal commitment of “I'm going to do this someday”. Maybe you've come a little bit closer and you've actually started the actual work, but you still can't get it across the finish line.
That is what I run into the most when I'm speaking to other guys that are frustrated because they have a dream and a vision, but they have not released it. They have not done the work, they have not sat down and learned how to take dominion over themselves with completing a project and seeing it all the way through.
Doing All Things As Unto the Lord Is Directly Tied to Masculinity
This is directly tied into masculinity and manhood; to be able to be a man of your word, not only with those you come in contact with every day, but also to be a man of your word with yourself with your commitments.
And there's a price to be paid because there's no price to be paid when you merely start something; there's no price to be paid by saying, “I want to do this, or my desire is to do this one day”. Rather, the price is paid when you actually finish it.
The Bible doesn’t tell us we’re going to hear from Jesus “well believed, my good and faithful servant” or “well intended”, but well done. Completion.
There are distractions around us at every corner and at every turn. The Apostle Paul told his mentee Timothy,
no soldier and active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life. (2 Tim 2:4)
I love the way The Passion Translation states this,
every soldier called to active duty must divorce himself from the distractions of this rule so that He may fully satisfy the one who chose him.
When we put our hand to something and do the work, we're doing all things as unto God, with a sense of purpose, a sense of meaning, and a sense of mission. And so in everything you do, I challenge you to reframe what you're working on and see it as bringing glory to God who created you.
What's distracting you and taking you away from your mission?
What's holding you back from stepping into a place of more authority?
The answer is directly related to dominion. When you complete something, you automatically gain authority in that area.
3 Secrets I Use to Finish What I Start
Let me share three strategies I personally use to take dominion by completing a project and that I use with other people to help them see the finish line, get the vision, and finish what they start.
1. Get Really Clear on What You Want
What's the why behind it, why do you want to do the project you desire to do?
Why do you want to write the book, or build that thing you're building?
Whatever that is, whether literally a building project or maybe it's something you just promise yourself you want to do and you haven't done it yet, get really clear on the why.
Take yourself to that feeling, that emotional state of what it's going to feel like when you complete the goal and think about it right now; how are you going to feel when you finish this thing that you want finish, what's that going to feel like? What sense of accomplishment is that going to bring you.? What doors is that going to open for you? I promise you, when you connect with that and you really get down to the why of why you want to do it, that's a powerful force to drive you over the finish line with what you're seeking to accomplish.
2. You Have to Prioritize
What are you prioritizing? What are you working on?
This is why I love going to the gym and training; it’s such a powerful metaphor for everything we do in life, but how do you get in shape and build muscle? One rep at a time. How you adhere to a diet? One bite at a time.
One step at a time is the mindset I want you to take is you look at the task in front of you that you want to complete.
I heard an awesome quote once that said something like we usually overestimate what we can accomplish in a defined time period. I know I have done that! Everything in my life seems to take longer than what I personally projected, however, the second part of the quote was, “we underestimate what can be accomplished in a year”. In other words, if you think about this concept of being consistent, day after day, putting the reps in, that is what will bring you closer to the finish line and bring you into that place of dominion when you finish what you start.
3. Assign a Due Date
Pick your date when you will be done. Open up your phone, go to whatever Calendar app you use, pick out the day you're going be done. But also be realistic. Then announce it; tell someone, whether on your social feed or telling a friend directly. This automatically builds an accountability, when will you finish this thing, share it with another brother of what you're doing and when it will be done, you don't have to share it with everyone, but you do have to share it with someone and that level of accountability will help you as you complete your goal and take dominion by finishing.
Real men finish what they start. Be a finisher today. Jesus was a finisher with everything he did, there's no question in my mind when he was building in that period of his life, in the first 30 years that I'm sure he never started projects he did not finish, but saw things through because that is how he exemplified obedience and took dominion in his life before he stepped into the work that he was sent here to do. There was a process and there was a preparation, so you might look at some of the task in front of you right now and you might say, “well, this isn't such a big deal? It doesn't matter if I finish.”
Jesus is the Ultimate Finisher
Be a finisher. This is part of your preparation process. It’s the little things that we need to finish, even the things you think that don't matter; the things where you think someone's not watching or doesn't really make that much sense in the grand scheme of things. It does, because what you do will determine what other opportunities you get; what you do today will open the door for other things that God can trust into your hands.
Jesus is the ultimate finisher. He finished His work on the cross, He said “It is finished”. He is the model for biblical manhood, and is the model and the template that we are to follow.
So today, take dominion. Finish whatever you start.