The Follow-Through

Follow-Through Title Image

Blogging consistently is hard work.

Because life is unpredictable, and is hard work.

I started this blog at the beginning of the year with the goal of posting once a week. Here were are in March and this is my 9th post (we’re in the 12th week of 2024, in case you were wondering). So, not even 3 full months into the year and I’m already behind. In the past I would’ve been beating myself up at this point. I would’ve been comparing myself to others who are consistent, who don’t miss their deadlines, and who are busier than me but manage to accomplish their goals. But, what good does that do?

So many things get in the way of accomplishing life goals, whatever those goals might be. Sometimes we’re just lazy and other times we get writer’s block. There are days when stress or anxiety steal away all creativity. Or, if you’re like me you over-analyze your work, contemplating whether to even share it, because your ego tells you everyone will just judge it anyway.

There will always be obstacles in our path when working towards our goals. That’s just the way life is. So, the sooner we accept that reality and make up our mind that we’re going to press on in the face of adversity, the better off we’ll be.

I believe we have the greatest potential for growth in the moments when life gets tough and we want to throw in the towel. It’s in those moments we must decide if we’re going to let those challenges get the best of us or if we’ll rise above them, proving to ourselves what we’re truly capable of.

You Can’t Finish Without Follow-Through

If you’re a college basketball fan you’re probably consumed with March Madness right now. You’ve filled out your bracket and your tracking your favorite team as they advance their way through the tournament. As you listen to the announcers talk about the best shooters from around the country during each game, listen closely and you’ll probably hear them use the term follow-through to talk about their form. If that term is new to you, here’s the gist of it. 

Watch a basketball player’s hand after they release a shot, do you notice how their hand lingers in the air as they watch the ball fly towards the basket? That’s follow-through – a fundamental yet often overlooked element that separates the greatest athletes from the rest. But follow-through isn’t just a key element of basketball or sports in general.

Follow-through is the silent hero behind every success story. Whether we’re talking about the greatest athletes to ever play their sport or the most successful entrepreneurs to ever pursue an idea, follow-through is what bridges the gap between starting and finishing strong.

Coaching on Follow-Through

I recently reached out to Justin Zack via LinkedIn because his posts resonate with me and because he’s someone who’s been through a difficult career transition and came out successful on the other side. He accepted my request to connect and graciously shared deep insights and wisdom with me from his own experience.

Justin’s most salient advice to me was, go for it! Here’s his first bit of advice to me. “The best time to start was 20 years ago, and yesterday. Do what you want. And if you don’t like it. You can change. I had A LOT of baggage tied up in what I did. I was scared about saying I did something different. But the truth is nobody really cares or pays attention that closely. Stay true to you and your values and you’ll be fine. Just keep doing what you’re doing and sharing your progress. I didn’t do as much in public and I regret it.”

His message to me couldn’t have come at a better time and couldn’t have been more on point with where I am in my journey. Like I’ve shared, I struggle with people-pleasing and with putting myself out there. I also have a lot of baggage tied up in what I do and how a transition to something else might be perceived by others. I needed to hear from someone who’s been through this process already that the best thing to do is go for it! Commit to the things you find important and then follow through to the end!

The second thing he said was, “You won’t learn if you stare at your navel all day. I did that for 20 years and I regret it. So if you want to write, then write. If you want to paint, then paint. ‘The greats weren’t great because at birth they could paint. The greats were great ’cause they paint a lot.’ If you haven’t yet, read the book Show Your Work by Austin Kleon, it will inspire you.”

So, I took Justin’s advice and read the book and he was write, I was inspired. And my take-away is that I’m going to commit to putting myself out there more during this time in my life. As I work through this process of figuring things out, I’m committed to sharing along the way, in hopes that others in this same period in life will be encouraged to do the same.

After the Follow-Through Comes the Finish

Over the past couple of weeks, while reflecting on Justin’s advice and also finishing the book “Show Your Work!” I’ve also taken stock of some of the projects I have completed. I don’t remember if it was in the book or in something else I recently read but another valuable piece of advice I came across was to regularly take time to think back on projects you’ve finished, and are proud of.

This was a helpful exercise in a couple of ways. It made me realize that I HAVE followed-through on some difficult projects that required commitment and hard work. And it also showed me that I DO have examples in my life of how following through produced end results that I can be proud of.

One project I’m really proud of is the guitar I built. After years of teaching myself woodworking, I decided I wanted to build an instrument I could play. At first, I thought about building a lap-steel guitar since it would be a much simpler, straight-forward project that I could do in a relatively short period of time. These are basically a flat piece of wood with a pickup and strings, like the one below.

Lapsteel Guitar

But, after some thought, I decided to go all in. I wanted to build a real guitar, from scratch, even if that meant committing to a much longer process. So, I made my plan, bought the wood and parts I wanted to use, and I got to work.

This project took me almost a year to finish (over 100 hours total) but I stuck with it. I watched the videos necessary to learn what I needed at each step of the process, and after 10 months of work I finished! I’m really proud of this guitar because it’s a tangible reminder that I can do difficult things if I’ll just follow-through.

Follow-Through Guitar Project

The next project I’m proud of is this blog. I haven’t been as consistent as I initially wanted to, but I also haven’t given up. I’m committed to continuing this process because I believe there’s value in learning and growing, and sharing what I’m learning along the way. If you would like to check out my other posts you can read them all here.

What are some things you’ve committed to, followed through on, and are proud of? What are some things you want to commit to? Join me over on my Facebook page and chime in. I’d love to hear your thoughts and I’d love for you to join me in this journey!

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