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Finishing Stronger than You Thought You Could
by On December 28, 2009

Tom WeberA couple of months ago, my wife Peggy and I went to New York to run a Half-Marathon with our friend Meredith. It was an amazing run on a cloudy September morning in Central Park. The entire night before it had rained and we prepared for a wet run, and luckily the rain stopped before the race started and held off until we were walking home afterwards but needless to say it was HUMID throughout the race.

And for anyone who hasn’t been to Central Park it is a lot hillier than you might think, I don’t remember many flat stretches on the entire run. So, if you add up these elements the race was a little tougher than we had thought it might be that day AND besides all of that Peggy had just discovered she was pregnant (the doctor said it was ok for her to run).

During the race, we made sure to keep a good pace and to take it easy so we didn’t put Peggy under too much stress. And as were getting near the end we were pretty sweaty, tired, and ready for the finish line. About 100 yards from the actual finish Peggy looked at me and said “If you want to sprint to the finish go ahead.”

I replied “Thanks but I’d like to finish with you.” Peggy said “No, no you go ahead…” I interupted and said “No, really. I ran this whole race by your side, I want to finish by your side.” As I finished saying that I got distracted by something to my left and turned my head, and as I turned my head and eyes back to the front to see the finish line I saw Peggy about 10 yards in front of me on a dead sprint! Her arms and legs were pumping so hard you would have thought she was being chased by a bear. (In Peggy’s defense she says that she said “Let’s Go!” but I didn’t hear that at all.)

It was crazy! Suddenly, I was in a RACE, not a “run”, the last 2 hours and 15 minutes no longer mattered, I was trying to chase her down so that at the very least I was going to cross the finish line at the same time as her. It was a strange mix of an animal chasing down prey, male ego being challenged, fun competition, and child-like play as I ran at full speed. When we got done, I laughed so hard at Peggy and asked her “Where did that come from???!” She said that she didn’t know, but when she saw the finish line some surge of energy came forth and pushed her farther and faster than she “thought” possible in the moment. An urge to finish strong overcame her and that inspired me to also finish stronger than if I had gone on without her.

The analogy here is simple. We are coming up on a “finish line” in our business. The year 2009 is coming to a close and the Fourth Quarter is wrapping up.

The question for you is: How are you going to finish? Have the elements been a little tougher than you thought they might be this year? Has it been a bit more “humid” than you planned? Did everything not go according to plan? Good! Because none of that matters. Right now, you have a choice. None of that past 11 months is important right NOW.

You can choose between a few options: a.) coast to the finish b.) pick up the pace and jog a bit faster or c.) pretend there is a bear chasing you and hunt down that finish line like your life depends upon it. If you pick it up the odds of you inspiring someone else to do the same are great. You can talk some smack or you can simply start sprinting and see if anyone can catch you.

Here is what I want to know: Think of a time in your life when you finished stronger than you thought could or when did you “sprint the last 50 yards.”

Tell us an example (it doesn’t have to be a long story), just a reference point to show that you’ve done it, and if you don’t have a story that’s ok, tell me that you can finish strong. Leave your comments, stories, examples, or declarations below. And when were chilling on the sizzler or catching up in January, someone will ask you, “Where did THAT come from??”

Be Free!

Tom Weber

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  1. Roger

    Tom, this post couldn’t be more appropriate for this week- and extremely well put. What comes to mind for me is actually 4th quarter of last year. At Freedom Fest everyone made their commitments as to what they were going to accomplish in Q4, which really inspired me. I set a goal that was about 40% higher than my average quarter. Joe and I teamed up really well that 3 month stretch and we actually beat that goal by almost 10%! Felt great and established a great start to this year.

    Once again, this post and these comments rock- keep ‘em coming!

  2. Dave

    It was third grade, and it was little league. We were up by 2 going into the botton half of the last inning, and I was the pitcher…and everyone on the other team was gonna get to bat. Based on the fact that I had beaned many batters in my previous outings on the mound, I didn’t think there was much chance I could prevent the other team from scoring 3 runs, especially since every person was gonna get to bat. But lo and behold, I was able to strike out nearly every batter. Needless to say, the crowd went wild and there were tears of joy. The victory was mine.

  3. Jeff to the Caissie!

    Man, my story is a simple one-just getting this job!!! I was miserable and under-appreciated for years at a lame job and moped about it for far TOO long. I finally realized that misery was consuming me and if I didn’t bust my butt to find something to be passionate about in my “work life” I was going to lose it-so I looked HARD for something and while I thought the hiring process for our company was a long one (U had never had 3 interviews for 1 job before) I knew that any company that tried that hard to get the right person in-was a company I wanted to be a part of-so I just lived, ate and breathed “getting this job”. Hahahaha. I know, this sounds like a REAL brown nose answer, but it’s the first thing that came to mind…OH, and Tom-you have my word I will not only be finishing strong but I am going to finish the year with my best quarter of 2009.

  4. Shoup

    Awesome stuff Tom!!! I have always subcribed the idea of finishing strong. This reminds me of 2 stories. One, when I was eating a large pizza by myself and was slowing down, but realized I only had two pieces left so, I finished strong and ate the whole thing!!! Okay, so that may not be what your looking for.

    The second might be a bit more appropriate. During my first summer selling books my best week was one in which I had 3 bagel days in a row and my last day of the week was my best of the summer. What kept me going was my unshaking belief that (1) things will get better as long as I keep trying & (2) I smell terrrific!!!

  5. Leah

    So great. Thanks! I love sprinting it out at the end. I can think of a triathalon I did where, when the run started, it was over 95 degrees and in full sun. My time was…slow. But I RAN strong at the end of the race. I also think of selling a bunch of Memory Training as I close out St. Louis. That last month was full of packing, moving, and great sales. And it did set me up for a great, confident start when I got to Madison. I’m sprinting right now, and loving it! Momentum in to January is such a fun thing.

  6. eric

    This is such an important story for all of our businesses – not only does this illustrate how to make sure that December is a fantastic month for you… potentially more importantly, its critical to understand that your actions these next two weeks will set the temp for how you start 2010.

    A little extra gas on the peddle now… will mean a tremendous amount of momentum come January. I know that i will be in high gear.

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