Close, But No Cigar!

Good morning, and happy Hump Day! I hope your day is off to a great start.

So, last Thursday my wife and I finally got our first Covid vaccine. Yes, we’re a little late, given our age, but we’re traveling and that adds a bit of complexity. Still, we got it done, without any bad effects, and now I can reassure others that I’ve been vaccinated. Okay, half-vaccinated. We still have another shot to go. But that’s just a formality, right?

Actually, no. It’s not just a formality. It’s an important part of the treatment that more than doubles our immunity to the virus. That doesn’t mean we’ll never get sick. It just means we’re that much less likely to contract the virus and, if we do, it should be somewhat less intense. That’s comforting.

My wife would be the first to say I’m good at getting started, but I tend to fall down before I reach the finish line. Apparently, we don’t entirely agree on the notion of “close enough.” My backyard shed is a perfect example. My grandson and I built it from scratch and it’s beautiful. Well, it will be once I finish installing the trim. C’mon, it’s only been four years!

There’s just that part of my brain that says when something is usable, the pressure is off. I ripped up all the carpet in our house and replaced it with laminate flooring. It looks great! Well, it will once I finish installing the trim. I had to remove the baseboards to get the job done, and half are still missing. C’mon, it’s only been twelve years! Wow, did I say that out loud?

Yesterday we talked about those baby steps, and that any progress toward a goal is something to be celebrated. But we also acknowledged that time is not a completely unlimited resource, and if we hope to accomplish our goal by a certain time, we may need to speed things up a bit. At my age, I need a jet pack.

There are times when “close enough” is truly close enough. The game of horseshoes relies heavily on this concept. Steering a mammoth container ship through the Suez Canal – not so much. That one has to be exact. And they pretty much expect you to finish what you started. You can’t stop halfway through and say, “Yeah, but look how far we got!”

We’d never think of using that on the job. When the boss gives us an assignment, they pretty much expect us to finish it. Trim isn’t optional. And, while they may appreciate the progress we’ve made and how hard we worked to get there, the job still isn’t done. And that’s what they’ll remember when it comes time for our annual review.

So, here’s the question – if you were paying somebody else to accomplish your own personal goals, how long would they be employed if they worked at those goals as hard as you do? That’s a tough one to bite off, because for most of us, the answer is “not long.” But hey, you gave it an honest effort and that’s worth something, right?

Well, it depends. If my goal is to save a million dollars and I only save half that much, that’s pretty respectable. I don’t know of too many people who would hang their head in shame. On the other hand, if I needed the entire million to build my dream house, it’s not going to happen. I can either get back to work or ditch my plans and start over.

Yet, when it comes to our dreams, we allow ourselves a certain amount of leeway for coming up short. “I tried. And in the beginning, I was getting a lot done! But I just wasn’t able to make it happen.” You weren’t able, or you just didn’t follow through? There’s a difference.

Driving through the mountains is rarely up one side and down the other. You reach the top of first hill, only to see six more ahead of you. And there may be a dozen more behind them. Now, if your only goal was to climb one hill, you’re there. Mission accomplished. But if you wanted to reach the other side, you’ve still got some work to do.

That first step is critical, but it’s no more important than every other step along the way. There’s a starting line and a finish line, and you have to cross both before you can take a bow. Sure, goals sometimes change, and that’s okay if your dream has changed. But don’t short-change your dreams because there’s another hill to climb.

Somewhere along that mountain drive, you crest one final hill and see clear sailing ahead. At that point, all those hills behind you are a distant memory. But if you stop too soon, you may never know how close you came. Your dream deserves that extra mile. And you know what? So do you.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2021 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

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