The power of finishing the last 10 percent

My Personal Achievement x Christine Moody
NYC 2015 the village_Christine Moody
Today I am celebrating—over a long lunch. I am celebrating the fact that I have finished something that took me from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows—and every other emotional level in between. I am celebrating the fact that I stuck it out and hung in there for the what was the last 10 percent.
Six years ago I set off on my masters degree (research and thesis) and after the initial excitement of having my abstract written and my research place accepted, I started ‘researching’ my topic. I had no idea what I had got myself into. Every weekend and most weeknights, I was exploring, writing, and trying to make sense of what it was I was actually researching—in fact, what I was doing! Remembering that I also consult full-time, I walked around with a constant feeling of a huge weight on my shoulders and it was relentless. 
Then I realised that I had started this journey to understand research and have the luxury of deep diving into my topic. It was supposed to be “fun” as I am naturally curious and love learning! Once I revisited my ‘WHY’ and reset my ‘fun’ attitude it was so much easier to get through the endless drafts, rewrites, and edits that are part of the process. I remember during orientation a diagram was shown of a ‘pit’ with a skull and crossbones graphic at the bottom. This diagram was used to explain the feeling you experience during your thesis writing. They were not wrong…I reckon I remained in that pit for five and a half years because I was waiting for someone to throw me a rope to drag me out…until I realised that was my job!
And that is what I did. I took the thesis writing by the horns and dragged myself up and out of the pit and ran to the finish line. I started exercising with a group to train with my ‘why’ in mind. I ran those stairs and hills not knowing how I was ever going to finish but I did! I translated the feeling of pushing my body physically to align with pushing my mental strength to push myself to finish. I could ‘see’ the finish line and I kept crawling towards it. The last few months meant 3am starts and late nights but at the end I had the entire document completed for assessment and eventually final submission. The last few years of researching and writing had come down to just finishing that last god damn 10 percent. Understanding this is what made the difference. It wasn’t about the completed 90 percent it was about finishing.
The last few years of researching and writing had come down to just finishing that last god damn 10 percent. Understanding this is what made the difference.
Finishing the last 10 percent of anything gives you a boost of confidence and achievement but it is also where most people simply give up. Personally it has given me a huge boost for so many reasons but the most important for me, is the fact that I am am proud of my achievement in finishing such a huge task. The number of stories I heard during my writing from people saying, “I started my thesis but didn’t finish and I didn’t see it as important”. I too had lots of reasons to not complete mine (some of you know the story and know that I had some really good, ‘dog ate my homework’, valid reasons) but I did not give up. I chose to get out of that ‘pit’ and help myself. My focus was on getting it done for myself. I also did it for my children and my family. What message does that give them if I just simply threw away six years of hard work? 
My message to you is fight, fight, fight and keep going. When things get tough refocus on your ‘WHY’ and just keep going. The last 10 percent is the hardest but completing it is the most wonderful feeling! That feeling of achievement and “I can do anything!” is the power of finishing something as it goes on to inspire the next big challenge—what ever that may be!
PS thanks to my family and every one of you for your love and friendship I needed to get me to the finish line!

*Christine Moody is one of Australia’s leading brand strategists and the founder brand management consultancy, Brand Audits. With more than 30 years’ professional experience, Christine has helped a diverse client base of local and international brands, including Gold Coast City Council, Hilton Hotels, and Wrigleys USA, to develop, protect and achieve brand differentiation. Her particular interest is personal brand audits to assist executives realise their full potential.

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