Sports have been a big part of my life as far back as i could remember – more watched than played, but still a big part. For the middle part of my life, my dad was a baseball coach. I remember when he would have camps for the little league kids during the summer and one of the fundamental lessons he would teach would be follow-through. When you swing the bat to hit the ball, follow through. When you catch the fly ball and throw it back, follow through. When you’re trying to beat the throw to first, run through the bag (follow through). The follow-through on the action is what adds the power to the action. That is why a line drive off a major leaguer’s bat can break a guy’s neck! It’s not about muscle strength or force. Strong muscles and exerted force aren’t what allow golfers to drive balls “miles” down a fairway, it’s the follow-through.
Too bad we don’t get follow-through lessons in other things in our lives. Or in other words lessons on how to finish.
I’m at the end of the pregnant phase of my life, and I’ve learned that I’m pretty terrible at finishing. I have a stack of started crafts that prove my point. I have rooms in my house that are 95% clean that add to the evidence. Now, I’m not expecting my house to be “magazine worthy” clean – I live here, Ken lives here, we have a dog – I know better than to expect that level of clean. But it’s the pile of opened mail that I know just needs to be sorted through (trash, act, or file). Or the stack of fast food cups that sit on the counter beside the trash can that should have just gone in the trash can the first time they were handled. Or the clothes that are laid over the chair that don’t get put up – since they’re not in the floor, they’re really not in the way (translation: I won’t fall over them on my way to the bathroom in the middle of the night).
And cleaning house isn’t the only place we’ve failed to learn the lesson of follow-through (it’s just the first example this nesting preggo things of). People also fail to follow through with their money. You say you’re going to get out of debt, you even pay off credit cards, but then what do you do? Is the account still open? Is it still attached to your SirShopsAlot account? Is the card still in your wallet? Well, you made the promise to yourself that you’d set a limit and make sure you budget enough money to pay it off each month so you don’t accrue interest, that’s enough right? How’s that working for you (as Dr. Phil would say)? And speaking of budgets – what does your budget look like? Is it on paper? Has everyone who has access to the money agreed to it and understands the consequences of not following it? You might have a written budget plan and it’s even hanging on the fridge for everyone to see, but where is your money really going?
Yes, follow-through seems to falter in the areas of our life where self-discipline (and self-motivation) is required. Cleaning, money, health, relationships – all require us to work. But that’s not the only areas follow-through needs occur. So many opportunities present themselves throughout our daily lives – they sometimes walk right up to us, look us in the eyes, and jump in our hands. Opportunities for new relationships, new experiences – learning more, doing more, living life more, sometimes even earning more. And what do we do with them? The business card goes in that “black hole” pocket of the wallet; the napkin with the phone number ends up disintegrated in the washing machine; the email or text message goes unanswered. I wonder what we’re all missing out on?
This blog itself has been a lesson to me on following through with things. I started this blog on 8/9/12 in Evernote on my iPad. Something interrupted me in the middle of typing it (I really don’t remember what – went to lunch….got a phone call… had to pee) and when I finally got another minute to work on it, my excuse for finishing it was “I lost my flow of thoughts”. Thus, in Evernote and (in my psyche) it sat – until today.
When I think about the condition of my psyche, it makes me think of Alice in Wonderland. Alice walks into this room – it’s a round room, with doors of all sizes encircling her. How does she get out of this room? Most of the doors are locked. In the end, she has to eat the cake on the table that makes her shrink so she can fit through the unlocked door. But what if all the doors were unlocked? That’s how I believe my psyche works – just like Alice’s room of doors where I can go through any of the doors I choose, and as long as I don’t let the door close behind me, i can come back to my room of doors and pick a different door on a different day. The problem is that nothing ever gets completed which leads to me frantically running from one unfinished task to another (and not truly finishing any of them thanks to this thing call entropy – aka the chaos that ensues when you’re not applying energy to the situation) and then leads to the walls of my room being so full of opened doors that there’s no room for anything new in my life, that finally results me being stressed, frustrated, unhappy, and unable to relax in my own house. What kind of life is that – especially since we’ll have a new baby around?!
Step one: yesterday’s to-do list (just ask Ken or my MIL & FIL about it). Step two: this blog. Time to close some psyche doors, finish some tasks, and follow through on some opportunities.