Death by a thousand cuts. Ever had a project like that? One problem after another. The next fire drill starting before the last one finished. I’m sure everyone has been in this position, whether at work, volunteering, or with a project at home. How do you avoid giving up? Don’t throw in the towel; here are some tips to finish strong:
Keep it in perspective. When a situation gets tough, I can be heard saying, “This isn’t Afghanistan; we aren’t saving lives here.” Maybe that motto doesn’t do much for you, but the point is oftentimes we get so consumed by our problems we don’t realize that in the grand scheme of things, the issue isn’t that critical. I’ve heard others say you should ask yourself if this situation/outcome will be important 5 years from now. 50 years? Eternity? While situations can be critical, remember, unless what you are doing has an eternal impact, don’t sweat it too much, because most likely one way or another it will work out. There is great wisdom found in Shakespeare in Love:
Philip Henslowe: Mr. Fennyman, allow me to explain about the theatre business. The natural condition is one of insurmountable obstacles on the road to imminent disaster.
Hugh Fennyman: So what do we do?
Philip Henslowe: Nothing. Strangely enough, it all turns out well.
Hugh Fennyman: How?
Philip Henslowe: I don’t know. It’s a mystery.
Have the right focus. If your life is consumed with a challenge, your focus tends to become very singular. While it seems counter-intuitive, this is the perfect time to go help someone else. Focus on another person and their situation. Doing this will help you put your situation in perspective. It also allows you take your eyes off the problem and perhaps let you see a solution. Picture yourself standing with your toes against a wall, staring straight ahead. In this position it may be tough to see how to get around the wall. If you change your focus, you may see the tunnel through the wall, ten feet to the left.
Find a support group. Surround yourself with people that encourage you to cross the finish line! Either positive individuals who are in the situation with you and you are getting through it together, or individuals who have been there before and made it out on the other side. Find people who will be empathetic to your situation but not allow you to throw yourself a pity party.
Remember, the end is the last impression you leave. Find ways to keep moving, and finish with the same momentum you started with. Don’t lose heart. Finish strong!
Jana Axline is Chief Project Officer at Project Genetics and the author of Becoming You. Through her leadership musings, she inspires audiences to grow as leaders and ultimately achieve who they were created to be. For more information visit Project Genetics.