It’s Not How You Start; But How You Finish

You’ve heard the saying, “What have you done for me lately?”

Unfortunately, in our fast paced world, that view has gotten a bit carried away and now seems to be more like, “What have you done for me in the last 30 seconds?”

We live in an impatient, quick to judge society that loves to voice opinions. And with the social media set as it is, we all have a voice to immediately share those opinions with the world around us.

For years, I’ve been telling people  that it’s never about how you start, it’s always about how you finish.

The idea behind that is, if you start out strong and finish weak you will be remembered for your lack of  ability to produce; conversely, if you start weak but finish strong, you will be remembered as a hero.

Nothing could have  proven  this  point better than the events that took place in Super Bowl XLVI between the New York Giants and the New England Patriots.

The Giants opened the 2011-2012 season with a loss and went on to compile a mediocre 9-7 regular season record, barely making the playoffs.

The Patriots opened the season with   a win and compiled a regular season record of 13-3, easily winning their division and walking straight into the playoffs with a first round bye and home field advantage throughout. Two very different starts to the same season.

When the two teams met in the Super Bowl, their finishes were just as different but in the opposite direction.

The Giants seemed to play their best game of the season. They rode the momentum of winning three straight playoff games and played the game with confidence and determination.

For the Patriots, one player in particular took the brunt of this phenomenon. New England receiver Wes Welker led the NFL in receptions and had been the number one receiver for the Patriots for four straight years, leading the team in catches and reception yards.

With 4:06 left in the game, the Patriots were leading 17-15 when Welker dropped a ball thrown his way. Granted it was a difficult catch to make because the ball was thrown behind him and slightly high, but it was one that should have been caught.

Had he caught the pass, the Patriots may have been able to extend their lead or at least run more time off the clock.

As it turned out, the most consistent and reliable receiver on the team failed to make the grab, giving the ball to the Giants with enough time left for them to drive down the field and score. The Giants went on to win 21-17.

Despite the poor start the Giants experienced this year, they will be remembered as Super Bowl XLVI Champions. Nobody will care about how they got to the playoffs or how many losses they had throughout the year.

For the Patriots, the story is a different one. They won’t be remembered for ending their season with a record of 15 wins to 4 losses. They will be known as the team that finished 2nd to the World Champion New York Giants.

As for Welker, the NFL’s top receiver, the man who has made clutch catch after clutch catch year in and year  out, he’s getting hateful mail blaming him for the loss and is taking the brunt of the frustration from fans around  the world all because of a single dropped pass.

“What have you done for me in the last 30 seconds?”

How quickly the great deeds of our even recent past are forgotten and replaced with the results of the moment.

Life is never about how you start, it’s always about how you finish!

Focus on what you can do to constantly strive to improve, don’t let a slow or poor start determine your outcome, finish strong and LIVE LIFE.

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Jim Howard

With over 30 years in commercial print, branding and publishing, Jim Howard has dedicated much of his life to helping entrepreneurs, CEOs and business owners move ahead in their business. Follow him at, facebook.com/jimhowardauthorcoach.

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