Monday, May 2, 2011

How to Finish Something You Started

From the 1940s through the 1960s souvenir shops across the United States sold drinking glasses to commemorate where you have been. As roads improved to turnpikes and freeways, families began driving around the country on vacations. My friend Ann was one of many who collected these souvenir glasses.

Ann was telling me she recently was in an antique store and found two state souvenir drinking glasses she had been looking for. She told me that back in the 1950s she would collect a souvenir glass from each state she visited but had failed to collect the last four. Over the years she would look for the missing glasses from time to time when frequenting antique stores, but had not found them until the two she recently bought. Ann was saying she wasn’t very good at finishing things and this was one thing she really would like to finish; after all, she had been to all the states except one! We talked about looking on EBay and guess what she found⎯yes, the other two glasses she needed to finish her collection. The first glass she ever bought cost her 39¢. The last two were somewhere around $5 each and shipping cost twice as much. The other day Ann proudly showed me pictures from her collection. I asked if she was going to display them and she said she had boxed them up for her family to have someday, and that she was just happy to finally complete something that she started for a change.

It wasn’t so much about the collection anymore for Ann⎯it was something personal. I think it is the same for many of us. We may be good starters but how many of us have Ann’s perseverance and determination to see “it” through? How do we become better finishers? Here are a few things to consider:

  1. What is the purpose? Determining how committed you are to something gives you a chance to be selective. This may be hard to hear but YOU cannot do everything. It will only drive you crazy!
  2. Are you passionate enough to see it through? If the passion ain't there baby, forget about it!
  3. Is perfection getting in your way? Perhaps it is good enough! A little flexibility here goes a long way.
  4. Is it necessary to finish everything you start? NO! We all know how it is when you lose interest and motivation. So, I am going to give you permission to drop it, forget it or move on if you want to.
  5. Do you value whatever “it” is? If not⎯don’t start in the first place!
I loved Ann’s story and the excitement she expressed. She obviously valued what she started and was committed to seeing this project through. What may have started on a vacation long ago became a nearly 55 year journey. But the story is not over yet⎯she still needs to make one more trip to that one state she hasn’t been to. I think a trip to Alaska will be in her future.

Is there something you started at one time and never got back to? Perhaps Ann’s story would be a good launching point for you to finish on. I know it has me thinking...

Photo courtesy of Country Living

© Copyright 2011 Michelle Clark
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