Today the world will be abuzz commemorating the 50th Anniversary of man’s first walk on the moon. It was a landmark achievement to be sure, but in my opinion, the real feat wasn’t the moonwalk itself, rather the fact that NASA was able to do so and bring all the astronauts home safely. Had the landing been achieved without a successful return we wouldn’t be celebrating today.
Finishing a task is an undervalued skill. It isn’t sexy to do the follow-up work after the main event but it is essential. How we complete a project often impacts the whole: a missed last step on the assembly line can disable the entire machine; an emergency landing negates an otherwise perfect flight and failing to proof budget figures can sink a proposal.
The ending characterizes the sentiment toward the entire experience in our personal life, too: a great movie that ends poorly is a dud; a problem with the bill ruins an otherwise delicious meal, and parking lot exit challenges diminish the euphoria after an event.
So today, let’s remember Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins – but also the thousands of others who kept their nose to the grindstone until Apollo 11 was safely pulled from the Pacific. Here’s to the finishers who stay on task until the end. Strive to be one of them.