“Long after the crowd had left and the cameras had moved, a lone runner entered the stadium to complete the 26-mile-long marathon, in the 1968 Mexico City Olympics. Injured earlier in the race during a fall, he stumbled along, more than an hour after the others had finished. Hurling himself to the finish line, John Stephen Akhwari of Tanzania finished dead last. But before you judge him as a loser, take careful heed of the words he uttered when asked why he did not quit earlier when he had been inured: ‘My country did not send me 7,000 miles to start the race. They sent me 7,000 miles to finish it’.”
The final quarter of 2013 is upon us. Most people are already beginning to look at 2014. Companies are already having their planning retreats. They are trying to figure out how to make next year better than this one.
But it is important to remember that there is still almost three months left in this year. Don’t give up yet! There is still time to make this a better year. We should look towards the future, but don’t forget the present in doing so. We should always be looking to be better. Organizations who are not growing are simply declining. Don’t decline in this last quarter. Choose to grow!
Look at the previous three quarters as the first eight innings of a baseball game. Things have gone well. You have pitched well. You have hit and scored some runs. But it doesn’t end after eight innings. This last quarter is the ninth inning. I encourage you to do your best Mariano Rivera (greatest MLB closer of all time) and close it out! Or in honor of the above story about John Stephen Akhwari, choose to finish the race! If you do, then 2014 will be an even better year because you can carry that momentum over and start strong.