Have you thought about what it means for you to ‘finish well’ – in work and life?
As we work and live each day, not too many of us are focused on the finish line. In fact, the whole idea of finishing up does not have very positive associations. It is associated with loss, and even death. A time when options close and ultimately cease. Something we would rather not think about. It is certainly not usually viewed as a motivating subject.
Most people under 40 are just doing whatever it takes to grow their life – relationships, family, career or business. Sometime during our 40’s we start to become aware that this issue requires a little attention. Maybe it is a health issue. Maybe it is a business or career setback. Maybe it is becoming aware that our parents are slowing down and have changing needs.
How does one measure a life?
Some consider life to be about two halves. Bob Buford wrote an influential book, called Half Time. Until 40, Buford observes that life is about success, about making our mark. After 40 he suggests we are better served to aim for a life of significance.
With average life expectancy increasing so dramatically in the past 50 years, Jane Fonda has a TEDx Talk in which she uses a metaphor of life as 3 Acts of a Play. She calls the last segment, from 60 to 90 years, The Third Act. As a very active septuagenarian, she argues that there is huge opportunity for individuals, families and our whole society if we can help more people enjoy their Third Act and finish well.
10 key issues each person must work through to finish well in our fast-paced world:
- How to live so you leave a positive legacy
- How to manage your health effectively
- How you maintain healthy intimate relationships like marriage and friendships for the long haul
- How you rebuild relationships that have become jarred or fractured
- How to have resilience to bounce back from the setbacks and traumas of life
- How to ensure you are ready to navigate transitions ahead of the curve
- How to keep learning and growing so you stay relevant to younger generations
- How to ensure you do not become a grumpy old person
- How to manage your money to make sure you have more than enough
- How to ensure you have a strong sense of purpose and meaning for life beyond the workplace
The truth is the whole of your life is preparation to finish well.
I have learned that anything you ignore or neglect because it is hard, or you don’t know how to do it, is likely to become a much bigger problem over time. I lost a marriage because I avoided confronting some difficult issues. The process would have been painful.
My avoidance led to a season of loneliness, separation and divorce which was ultimately much more painful and it took years for me and others close to me to recover.
In my view, to finish well is more to do with who I am becoming than any achievement in life.
What do you need to confront in your life to make sure you have every chance of becoming the person you want to be, so you can finish well?