Follow-through is defined as either the part of the stroke following the strike of the ball or the act or instance of following-through. I would argue that following-through is often many strung together acts of following-through, most of us don’t follow-through just once on a project and say “ah that’s done.” Usually isn’t that simple and it is a compilation of follow-throughs that ultimately help us reach our goals. Just as in a football, or er soccer game, the game doesn’t stop when one goal is made. There are many kicks and plays leading to many follow-throughs which may not result in a goal, however it does result in an over all game and a type of accomplishment. Sometimes it is just hard to see the big picture. Pardon me for the sporting analogy, which admittedly is not an area of expertise. However I am moved for two reasons, one the World Cup starts tomorrow (Woo Hoo) and two because I have been experiencing some lessons around follow-through. These lessons highlighted for me both how important follow-through can be, as well as the difficulties around “follow-through.”
Follow-through is one of many areas I work on with clients; coming up with goals and desires is sometimes, not always, the easiest part; it is following-through that is the real kicker (blatant soccer pun, forgive me.) Also I note that the area folks have the most difficulty with follow-through is with commitments to themselves. People will often easily commit and follow-through on loads of obligations or demands from other people, however when it comes to following-through on something they want for themselves it is all to easy to put themselves on the back burner. There are many many reasons people put themselves on the back burner, demanding jobs, caring for an aging parent, raising children, illness, no time, all perfectly good and logical reasons. There are often some pretty good illogical reasons, like “people will think I am selfish,” or “it is not okay for me to focus on myself.” Many of those reasons are valid, however one’s own goals and things to follow-through on are important not just for ourselves. In soccer it takes many players and coaches all focusing on their own follow-through and each other to support the over-all goal of getting through a game win or lose. If one team member focused only on all the other players, then the team would be less effective as a whole. Which is why you deserve the same kind of follow-through you give the rest of your “team;” and the reality is that if you don’t give yourself some sort of priority no one else will. It is often tricky for people to realize they are an important part of the team that deserves attention and follow-through as well. However once you start to recognize your own value, follow-through becomes just a little bit more possible, not necessarily easy… So I will leave you with one thing to try, schedule time for your own follow-through in your life. Just as you schedule time to go to the doctor, or take your kids to the soccer game or have date night with your partner, do the same thing for yourself and make it non-negotiable. Enjoy the World Cup matches if you watch them and they only happen every four years so likely you won’t have to read any more sports analogies from me until the next World Cup! Goooaaallll!