I spent a recent Saturday doing something to expand my sense of adventure. While a large part of the motivation is because I want my kids to be more adventurous than I am (lead by example, right?), I've started to enjoy this particular aspect.
I've been learning to shoot a gun! Guns were not a norm in our household growing up and I had only ever really seen one up close when my brother got issued his. I was incredibly nervous about the whole idea but I had some good friends who were trained, confident, and very patient while they taught me. Given the extent of my hesitation and my penchant for researching, however, you won't be surprised to hear that I wanted a bit more formal instruction. Enter in that Saturday.
|Friend, sister and me!|
But it was during a portion of the classroom time that made me think. To ponder. To muse... (o.k. I'll stop) about an aspect of life that is critically important but often overlooked or marginalized.
Our instructor was pointing out the importance of following through with each shot so that your anticipation of the next shot doesn't interfere with your aim. A slow, steady trigger pull and keeping your hands and arms steady throughout the whole motion. This, in turn, reminded me of all the years Dad spent coaching me in softball (just slow pitch recreational but fun, nonetheless). My throwing needed a follow-through to make sure it went where I wanted it to go. My hitting needed a follow-through so the ball wouldn't end up in the dugout.
You can have the best aim but you need the follow-through to carry it out.
The same went for my sporadic tennis lessons over the years. Forehand, backhand, serve, everything needed the plan, the execution and the all-important follow-through. Could I tell if I wasn't following through correctly? I did make many trips outside the fence to pick up the ball I'd launched, that's for sure.
But sitting there, in the classroom in a completely unrelated activity at a very different time of my life, it occurred to me that so many activities require a follow-through motion because it's vital for anything. Everything! Not just sports and activities but in any area and stage of life. Business plans need follow-through to stay afloat and be successful. Parents need follow-through so make sure their kids know the importance of repercussions (not the same thing as punishment).
Have you ever tried to work or live with someone who had no follow-through? Plans that don't come to fruition are frustrating with no execution. Apologies are eventually hollow with no change in action. Promises made that are never kept. All of these things require follow-through to keep life progressing in a healthy manner.
These days, I only have to worry about my own follow-through and teaching my kids the importance of it, too. I try to temper my enthusiasm and optimism for plans with the reality of my time, energy level and finances. That's not to say I never do anything or promise anything it's just that I do it with much consideration and the personal requirement that I follow-through. I don't think there's an objective way to measure success in life but for me it's knowing that what I mean what I say and I do what I promise so that my kids are rarely disappointed by things within my control.
As for this point in my life I, to be re-evaluated periodically, my follow-through is to be consistent, honest with myself, and content with my decisions. For the next stage my follow-through may look different but I will make sure I know what it is and stick with it.