Dan Waldschmidt

by Dan Waldschmidt

April 6, 2012

You Don’t Need To Finish What You Start.

Just because you start something doesn’t mean you need to finish it. And while we’ve been taught since we were kids to “finish what you have on your plate” or “to finish your homework” or “to always finish what you start”, being successful requires you to start a lot of things that you never actually end up finishing.

Because they are the wrong things to finish.

You realize that they don’t work like you expected.

  • Just because you start an ad campaign doesn’t mean you need to finish it — especially when you aren’t getting the results that you expected.
  • Just because you start using some new sales training for your team doesn’t mean you need to see it through to completion — especially when it isn’t the right fit for you.
  • Just because you start working on a new product idea doesn’t mean you need to push it to market — especially if it’s not a good product.

It’s foolish to keep doing the wrong thing.

Being successful is a lot more complex than the simplistic quotables that we like to repeat about “never giving up”.

Finishing just because you started is a silly reason.

And it is damaging to your internal motivation. You trick your brain into doing fewer things and taking on fewer risks then you otherwise could easily handle.  Because you’re focused on how you’re going to complete a task you might not do this simplest thing of just taking the next step.

Which is what you really need to do in order to be successful.

You don’t need to focus on how you’re going to get to the finish line.  Just focus on doing the next right thing.

That is how you accomplish breakthrough.

Whether it is a sports game, a scientific problem, or a complex business problem, thinking about what the finish line looks like is an overwhelming distraction to your forward progress.

In most cases, what you think of as success looks quite a bit different when you actually get there.

It’s likely you won’t take the next step if you think that you have to finish everything that you start. You’ll just do the things that you can see being finished. Which means a lot of good opportunities for you to be amazing never get started.

You don’t need to finish what you’ve started.

You don’t. You just need to take the next step.

That is the secret to accomplishing amazing things.

So stop telling yourself that you need to finish everything.  That just isn’t practical.  Focus on taking the next step.

As long as you have a relentless focus on figuring it out along the way, you’ll find your way to the finish line.

And it will probably look more amazing than you could have ever imagined.

About the author

Dan Waldschmidt

Dan Waldschmidt doesn’t just talk about leveling up. He’s obsessed with it. He's set records as an ultra-runner and been the personal strategist for the leading business leaders of our time. He wrote a book, called EDGY Conversations that accidentally became a worldwide bestseller and continues to share his insights from the stage as a keynote speaker and on the blogs and podcasts you will find here. Most days, you'll find Dan heads-down, working on breakthrough strategies for his clients at EDGY Inc, a highly-focused, invite-only, business strategy execution company based out of Silicon Valley.