First a quote: “It’s the job that’s never started as takes longest to finish.” ― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings
One of my very first jobs (before I was old enough to have a job) was mowing lawns. I also delivered the Des Moines Register daily newspaper, but that is a story for another day. For several years, it was my responsibility to mow not only our family lawn, but also those of several neighbors. At $3.00 a yard, I was rolling in the dough. What a life! While I enjoyed earning my own money, there were certainly days when I didn’t enjoy the work. Mowing large yards with a push mower on hot, humid, summer afternoons wasn’t nearly as fun as spending time at the community swimming pool or hanging out with friends.
Occasionally, my dad would have to “encourage me” to fulfill my responsibilities, offering words of wisdom which still ring true… even today, some fifty years later. His most frequent advice included:
• “You’ll never finish by standing there looking at the size of the yard to be mowed.”
• “The mower isn’t going to push itself.”
• “If you have to eat frogs in life, eat the big ugly ones first.” For more on this, read the Monday Morning Minute from February 19, 2018. Click Here to Read More
• And the focus of today’s missive: “The sooner you get started, the sooner you’ll finish.”
Adding to the many things I learned from my dad over the years, I have observed; “It is the start, that stops most adults.” Think about this for yourself. You desire to live a healthier lifestyle, and yet the most difficult day to go to the gym, is the very the first day. The first time we order a salad instead of the cheeseburger is challenging for those starting a new diet. For the person who desires to write a book, it is writing the very first paragraph. For the person who would like to go back to school and finish their degree, it might be calling to register for their first class. You get the idea, getting started, or taking the very first step, is the source of procrastination for most of us.
Think of pushing on a giant, yet stationary flywheel as a metaphor. It takes tremendous effort and hard work to get the flywheel to even budge one iota. But, once we get it moving it begins to easily spin faster and faster. Once we have momentum on our side, we can become almost unstoppable. We just need to get started.
Even as a young teenager, I knew the satisfaction that came from admiring a freshly mowed yard… straight rows of lawn mower tracks, trimmed edges, no weeds and a happy homeowner… not to mention the three dollars in my pocket. The sense of accomplishment can be so gratifying and, becomes the foundation for future challenges and overwhelming projects.
Go ahead, put a little gas in the tank and pull the starter cord on your lawn mower. Before you know it, you’ll be admiring your accomplishments and success. The sooner you get started, the sooner you’ll finish.
What “big project” have you been procrastinating? Where will you begin today? This week? What action, even if small, will get you started on your next journey? Today might be a good day to go to the gym, or walk around the parking lot, write that first paragraph, launch an important project, or sign up to take a class.
How will you lead differently, or better, this week?
Have a great week!!
“Expanding Your Capacity for Success”
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