Completing The Circle | Seeing Things Through To Completion
On the latest episode of Commerce and Chill, Jessica and Waleed discuss achieving their goals, the process of finishing what we start, and how business owners can power through challenges to complete projects that benefit their business. Continue reading below for more on these topics.
At the start of Commerce and Chill, Jessica gave us a poignant reminder that the U.S. Presidential elections are less than 3 weeks away and that it is our civic responsibility (and a great thing) to be politically engaged throughout the process and to Go Vote on November 3rd! As this campaign cycle comes to an end with the vote and election coming near, we complete the circle of political engagement and elect a new leader for the next few years, which led us to this week’s topic: completing the projects and tasks that we set out to accomplish in our life and business. We call this “Completing the Circle” because both life and business operate in cyclical patterns. As we learn to complete projects within the lifetime of a business cycle, we prevent ourselves from getting caught in repetitive loops of inactivity and enable ourselves to reach new heights in our life and business. Over the past week, Jessica got a lesson in completing the circle when her local library extended the book return deadlines due to Covid restrictions. Upon learning of the additional time she’d have to return her book, Jess stopped reading the book, even though she could have completed it before the original deadline, had she continued reading. Waleed calls this situation an example of the “Near and Far” dilemma, where we will work harder on tasks that are nearby and seemingly within our ability to complete than we will work on tasks that may be equally difficult (or even easier) to complete but are further away. The Near and Far Dilemma is fueled in part by procrastination and the pressure we feel to address things that are closer to being demanded of us, even if other tasks may be easier to accomplish in a shorter amount of time. There is also the dilemma, however, that we as individuals, as business owners, and as Americans especially, have simply gotten comfortable with not completing the things we start. As a culture, our systems are often built in such a way that we become accustomed to leaving things unfinished. In our education system, we regularly change the standards, curriculums, and texts that our students learn from (somewhat) arbitrarily and we don’t get to see the impact that these changes have on our students because the standards are changed so quickly and before we can get a complete idea of their effectiveness in the real world. In these systems (and perhaps as a result of them), it has been shown that nearly 1 million students drop out of high school every year, fewer than 6 out of 10 college students finish their degree in less than 6 years, and roughly 400,000 college students drop out of school annually for varying reasons. Is it because we are not completing the circle of education governance that we see such high rates of incompletion for our students? Even worse, our habits outside of the classroom are also indicative of a culture that is comfortable with incompletion. In the cafeteria, it has been reported that students in public schools throw away approximately 60% of the vegetables and 40% of the fruit from their school meals. This is consistent with eating habits in the outside world, where diners in restaurants don’t finish approximately 17% of the food they eat at diners and restaurants. In the gaming world, a significant percentage of gamers don’t play video games all the way to the end, and in the business world, most people only read a portion of the emails, texts, or social messages they receive, which results in missed meetings, showing up late to events, and often missing important information from these messages. (At JSB, an easy way to stand out from the crowd is to read emails entirely and to come prepared with everything that is asked of you in those emails.) Not completing the things we start seems to be a function built into our society starting at a young age and it becomes a habit that is harder and harder to break as we grow older. Breaking habits becomes even harder when we encounter structures that are in many ways intended to prevent people from completing tasks or at least benefit from our inability to do so. For example, shady credit companies benefit when their users don’t finish paying off bills and continue to pay more and more interest on the money they owe. Less scrupulous motivational speakers and conferences benefit when their patrons don’t actually achieve the lofty goals that speakers plant in their minds and continue to purchase products and services that inspire them to keep working towards those goals without actually being provided enough of the tools or resources needed to actually achieve them. Ultimately, however, we have to be accountable to ourselves for completing the tasks we set out to accomplish, whether it be paying our bills or forecasting our future business. In that vein, part of being accountable to ourselves is understanding why we don’t finish things, for which Waleed offered 6 theories as to why we leave things uncompleted. The six reasons people don’t finish what they start, according to Waleed, are:
Being uninterested in the outcome.
Having too many things going on at once.
A lack of focus and/or resources.
Underestimating the time and/or resources needed to complete a task.
Poor planning, which leads to poor execution.
The “Near and Far Dilemma”
However, among these six reasons, there are also two kinds of people that may have differing experiences with completing the circle. Those two kinds of people are “starters” and “completers” as Waleed puts it. “Starters” are the kind of people that are great at getting projects started and motivating themselves — as well as their people — to begin work on projects that are important to them or their business. Entrepreneurs and Founders of companies are often great “starters,” and are excellent at getting the ball rolling with great ideas and at creating great momentum around those great ideas. “Completers” are the kind of people that are great at making sure tasks are completed, and are great at bringing their team through the finish line to ensure that their business is successful. The CEOs and COOs of companies are often great “completers” who can motivate a team to grow the company and execute on the business’s goals. If you have a strong team to support you, however, you can move from “starter” to “completer” and can also delegate or share in tasks that you are unable to complete. If you are a starter, surround yourself with completers who can get the job done for you, and focus on the strengths you have that make the things you start valuable and worthy of being finished. If you are a completer, find starters with great ideas and the passion, resources, and/or momentum to get you the head start you need to make it where you are trying to go. Whether you are a starter or completer, there are 8 ways that you can help yourself achieve the goals you set for yourself and your business, as told by Waleed. They are:
Find a partner who compliments your style of leadership.
Do less things and start fewer things.
Have a system to track what you need to get done.
If you have a team, delegate.
Break tasks down into microtasks.
Save the fun parts for last.
Have a plan.
Fall in love with the process.
Each of these steps will bring you closer to completing the circles you begin. Above all, however, finding a partner to tackle your goals with will make the journey that much better. Find the Waleed to your Jess or the Jess to your Waleed and complete the circle of life and love that may be missing in your life. If you are a starter, find your completer who will keep you focused on completing the task, and if you are a completer, find the starter who will encourage you to try new and exciting things. Whichever you are, find a meaningful balance of Commerce and Chill and complete the circles that will lead to your happiness.
For more on this topic, check out the Commerce and Chill podcast and follow Jessica Johnson-Cope and Waleed Cope at the links below. ► Listen to the Commerce and Chill podcast on Anchor: https://anchor.fm/commerce-and-chill — — ► Follow Us Online Here: Instagram: http://instagram.com/waleedcee Instagram: http://instagram.com/jessicajohnsoncope LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/waleedcope/ LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/msjessica... Youtube: Commerce and Chill