Finishing Well

It’s not how you start that really matters but how you finish.  You obviously can’t finish what you haven’t started but in terms of easier, starting wins. Anyone can start a race, a project, a relationship, an education, the pursuit of a dream – but it takes character and tenacity to finish!


One of the most notable non-finishes in history was accomplished by a man who was famous yet extremely disappointing in how he lived his life.  You can have all the chances in the world but opportunity alone does not determine if and when you will finish.

This famous non-finisher was Nero.  One of the famous events in his life is the time he took part in the Olympic games of A.D. 67.  Not only did he bribe officials to postpone the games by two years but he also bribed his way to the podium when he didn’t even finish.

Yes, he did compete in the A.D. 67 Olympics. He rode in the chariot races with a 10-horse team but was thrown from his chariot and almost died.  He didn’t even finish the race but was proclaimed the winner on the grounds he would have won had he been able to complete the race.

Listen to how that sounds:  I would have won, if I had been able to finish! Really!?!?

Thankfully, after his death a year later, they expunged his name from the victor’s list. My guess is they didn’t have the nerve or the guts to confront him while he was alive.

There is a powerful lesson in this:  

Finishing isn’t about planning to finish –
but actually crossing the finish line before the race ends.

In the race of life, it’s not about speed alone but about sticking to it until you finish and cross the finish line. It’s about living out the purpose you have been placed on this earth to fulfil and finishing well.

Paul in the Bible described his finish this way:

I have fought the good fight,
I have finished the race,
I have kept the faith.

What keeps us from finishing?

  • Entitlement – I deserve the prize even if I didn’t finish.
  • Distractions – There are so many other interesting things to do!
  • Fear – What if I fail to finish? Or fall down and get hurt? I’ll just not enter the race.
  • False humility – I don’t deserve the prize so I don’t think I’ll run.
  • Addiction – I like the rush [name your addiction] gives me right now more than the pain and challenge of running.

Nero fell off his chariot. I fell off my motorcycle. The difference is – I don’t plan to pull any strings so I can avoid doing the hard work of getting back into the race and finishing well. 

This recovery process has been challenging and difficult but quite honestly, it has increased my desire to run with perseverance the race marked out for me.  I’ve had to make some adjustments and modifications to the type and speed of the race I’m running, but one thing I know:

Finishing isn’t about planning to finish –
but actually crossing the finish line before the race ends.

That is my goal and I trust it is yours as well.

What gets in your way from running the race of life?
Who helps you to keep running strong?

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About Cam Taylor

I'm help people live inspired, focused and tenacious lives. I work as a coach, facilitator, author, and speaker.
This entry was posted in Adversity, Attitude, Character, choice, dreams, Endurance, failure, Growth, healing, Hope, motivation, Opportunity, Perspective, purpose, Risk and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Finishing Well

  1. Sondra Burnett says:

    Well said, thanks again Cam. As you said: (my accident) has increased my desire to run with perseverance the race marked out for me (even though) I’ve had to make some adjustments and modifications to the type and speed of the race I’m running . . . May we all be encouraged to do so, in our own individual races. Thanks for YOUR encouragement.

  2. Cam, this message is important for every person alive. While you do offer much inspiration for people who have suffered injury and loss, Finishing Well applies to people who have never suffered as you have. A question was posed on my Toastmasters Group; what’s the main reason people fail to achieve their goals? I responded; because they fear failure. They give up before they begin. It’s people like you who remind us that failure isn’t final. My dad would be so proud of you. You give hope to the many and I beleive your words of encouragement will make a huge difference in people’s lives. I loved this blog Cam. I may never see you finish … but I will enjoy your journey, your persistence and perseverence.

    • Cam Taylor says:

      It is so true that this message is for everyone regardless of their physical condition. It goes hand-in-hand with your desire to help people leave a legacy. We’d make a great team!

  3. Vicky says:

    Hear, hear!

  4. WhitherThitherYon says:

    Ouch. You nailed me. Thanks.

  5. Shirlene Henning. says:

    A “huge” AMEN!

  6. Kristine Kaasik says:

    I love the analogy of a race in life.. and I thoroughly enjoyed your descriptions of Nero’s life. Yes, finishing well is important and the character we develop along the way! Thanks for the reminder.

    • Cam Taylor says:

      Thanks Kristine for joining the conversation. It is so true how the all encompassing the race analogy is – I’ve always really resonated with especially in my running days. I will “actually” run way less going forward but be no less committed to running the race of life!

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