What does it take to Be A Finisher?

Martial Way Black Belt Test


What comes to your mind when you hear “Be A Finisher”?

I believe it all has to do with your back ground and experiences.  If you are very academic or occupation minded then it probably has to do with completing projects.  On the other hand if you are very athletic or competitive then it probably has to do with completing a race, event or season.

No matter which group you fit into you are one and the same.  You have a goal in mind and to “Be A Finisher” means that you must bring “IT” to completion.  You have to finish what you started!!!

So if you are a finisher then how many medals do you have?  How many trophies are on your book case?  Even if your event or race didn’t offer prizes for completing it you might have kept something.  A small symbol or token to say “Yep, I finished that!”

This reminds me of a race called the Beach to Bay.  It is a marathon relay where all the members on a team divide up the legs to complete the race.  The first year I did it was after I was cleared from ACL rehabilitation.  It was a big deal for me to run four to five miles after being down for 12 months.  I kept the medal they gave us for completion.  I even kept the shirt and the number I wore!!!  I am sure if you look around you will find many things like this.  Just look on your book shelf.  Do you still have that book that you finished reading?  Why is it really there?  Do you need to go back and refer to it?  Most likely not.  It is there as a symbol that you completed it!  If you start looking around you will begin to find more and more trophies of completion from your life.

If you are finding less “trophies then the real question is how many times have you completed something you started?  For a long time I found myself wanting to make a Wooden Dummy to practice my martial arts.  To build even a “make shift” one would be a lot more affordable than purchasing one.  So what did I do?  I went and bought all the items needed including the tools.  What happened?  It all sat in the garage… forever!  I am sure you have had this happen with something.  Maybe you got into scuba diving or some other hobby or interest.  You did the classes, got the gear and now don’t do anything with it.  Sometimes the idea of doing something is clearer than the action of doing it.

So, how do we get beyond the clutter of things that are not finished?  We must formulate our goals.  This means take the larger picture of competition and break it down into a few steps.  Each one of these steps will be consider a smaller goal.  After all, how do we eat and elephant?  One bite at a time.

Once you have your steps or smaller goals in place, it is time to make a plan.  How many tasks will it take to complete each step to your goal?  Write them out and be specific.  Set a timeline to them.  Even give yourself a reward for completing each one of these smaller goals.  If you want to really light a fire under your bottom, give yourself some discomfort for not completing a step on time.  Motivation will come in many ways.  After all, people do things out of pleasure and stop doing things out of pain.  Above all, make your plan quickly so that you can get into action.  When I say this I mean make a plan that has a step you can do right NOW!!!!

An example for us would be that we are going to start training for the Texas Water Safari.  We have our goals in place and are ready.  But it is the middle of the night.   We probably won’t put in on the river at that given moment.  So how do we start now?  We can begin by setting up our next training run.  We can message other teams and set it all up on the calendar.  There are always steps that can be taken no matter what time it is.  So do it and do it NOW!

As you get moving towards completing anything, the farther away something is, the more you have to stay focused.  The best way I have found to do this is find and/or create all sorts of references to keep you on track.  When competing or doing anything I want to finish I am looking at video or photos.  I am talking to people that have done it before and putting myself at the finish line.  I am not only seeing but also feeling what it will be like when I get there.  It is like knowing the last page number of a book.  That feeling to know you are getting closer to the end.  Picture yourself holding the book.  How good does it feel to know that you have read all the pages in your left hand.  That feeling is only second to when you close the book for the very last time.  That sense of completion is the greatest feeling!

Mentally focusing on these feelings and thoughts of completion will help you push through every barrier.  It will also help you have fun along your journey.  After all, it is really about the trip and experience more than the destination.  But it does feel good to celebrate finishing something you started.

Guro Larry, Sonja, Lauren & Tori St. Clair

The Always Improving Martial Way Academy
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