If you think marriage is easy, you're probably not married. This month we're celebrating my parents' 60th wedding anniversary. During this season of Thanksgiving, I think it's appropriate to express my gratitude for their 60 years of expressing love through commitment, affection, and sacrifice. No marriage is seamless, but I don't know anyone who has provided a better example to follow than the two of them.
Today a prospective client called regarding a big project that she's tackled several times, but failed to complete. In inquiring about my services, she asked if I had tenacity. I know that for many of my clients, starting but stopping before completion is a common experience and an obstacle to a peaceful and productive environment. In honor of my parents I'd like to share what I've learned from them about tenacity and finishing what you start.
TIMELY TIPS - Finishing what you start
1. Choose wisely before committing. Even though my parents didn't have a long engagement, they made sure that they were a match on the majors, like their faith and values. Whether you're considering marriage, employment, or a hobby project, make sure it's a good match for you.
2. Establish a time-line. For my parents it's "till death do us part." If you have a project you're committing to, you probably want to consider a different time frame. Look realistically at the amount of time you have to invest, and the amount of time it will take and then come up with a completion date goal.
3. Plan your steps. "First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes a baby in the baby carriage." That was the plan my parents followed. Without a plan the best of us get sidetracked from our projects and commitments. Besides, it can be overwhelming when you're looking at the whole thing instead of breaking it down into reasonable steps.
4. Maintain balance. My parents volunteer at a local Elementary school reading program, work at a non-profit thrift store, sing in their church choir, and spend fun times with friends and family (including their twin great-granddaughters!). It's good to have some well-placed diversions from your project so you don't burn-out before you're finished.
5. Share the load. Hospitality is hallmark at my parents' home and it wouldn't be possible without teamwork. Not all, but many projects and commitments are better shared. Consider who you might share yours with to make it more productive and enjoyable.
6. Failure isn't the end. Like I said, my parents' relationship isn't perfect, but I never heard them consider their failures a reason to give up. Yes, there will be glitches in your project time-line and you may miss a goal, but it's an opportunity to learn and persevere, producing strength and the ability to empathize with others.
7. Celebrate milestones. Whether it's a trip to Hawaii or a nice dinner out, acknowledging progress in their lifetime goal of marriage has been a standard for my parents. If you have a long-term project, create some short-term goals that you can celebrate along the way. Plan out your rewards and make sure to follow through when you accomplish your goals.
"If it's important to you, you will find a way. If not, you'll find an excuse." -Unknown