Dr. Kevin Fitzgerald: Find the finish line


Finish what you start.

I recently re-read a favorite book of mine, a biography of President Harry S. Truman. No matter what your politics, the man was the consummate Midwesterner: honest, hard working, and practical. I came across a passage that I had forgotten or skimmed over on the first reading. After he had retired and gone back home to Missouri, a group of college students came to his house to visit him. After introductions and prerequisite small talk, one of the students asked Truman what, after all that he had accomplished and seen, was the best advice he could give to a young person. Truman thought for a second and said, “Finish things. Finish what you start.”

What sound advice coming from a master of pragmatism and fundamentals. What a solid idea. How effective this could be if we apply it to our daily life, to our patients, to our clients, to our staff, and to our families. What if we finished each day to finish as much as we can, to resolve each problem, to leave as little as we can hanging? What great advice, if we heed it.

The next day, after finding Truman's message to the college students, I was watching a golf tournament on television. One of the golf commentators said that the most important part of the golf swing is the follow through. It struck me that, here again, is the advice of Truman. It is not the power we begin something with, it is the strength and the control to finish and to follow through. Think about it. How often we start things-resolutions, projects, various programs we commit to-and we never finish them or do so half-heartedly. Do we always follow through for our patients and clients? Do we always tie up loose ends for our staff with finality and a fair, constructive finish? It is not possible each day to finish everything we start. Nevertheless, we should strive for the resolution of problems and avoid letting issues linger when they could have been nipped in the bud. We should try to focus on completing goals and finding responsible, realistic solutions to problems. What a positive impact this could have on our lives and on the lives of those around us. What are you sitting there for? Go finish up.

See you next week, Kev

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