Pick a sport with a ball. Golf, baseball, football, tennis, bowling, feel free. Actually he used shooting skeet for this example but he’s used the others in the past. One thing all these sports have in common is a basic motion you follow when you play. With each of these, there’s the first part where you line up the target, bring the bat or racquet forward, and make contact. Then, you’ll completely blow it if you don’t follow through. That’s my dad’s common advice. Always make sure you follow through.
He clearly does this in the sports context. He also talks about it in the personal sense. In effect, he’s talking about what I did in the Brand of Your Self – in a good way. Your personal brand is what people expect when they deal with you. The question is whether they settle when they “buy” you. If your brand stands for following through then people can do more than just trust you, they can count on you. Just like in sports, taking on a job and then starting on it are like your backswing and the first part of the stroke. Those are important and put you on your way.
How you handle delivering your commitments and what comes out of them are the follow through. At moment the bat hits the ball, your momentum and positioning have you ready to go. If you stop there though, things go awry. In sports, you shank a ball or hit a blooper. You’re actually stopping your swing right at the moment of truth. In life, you’re pulling back from getting things completed on time or well. You may actually be distancing yourself from the result before it even happens. This is a critical time when your commitment to being prepared carries into actually getting the job done right.
In sports, this may be an involuntary action you’re not even aware of at the time until it’s pointed out. The same thing may be true in life although it is a lot harder to call someone out. In the end, it can become part of your brand. Your modus operandi. If you’re known to pull back at the moment of truth then people won’t count on you personally or professionally. If you’re known to prepare, deliver, and take care of the results then that’s an entirely different story. And it’s a successful one.
So think about your next task. Are you leaning into it at the point of contact? Is your swing going cleanly through the ball with the stroke ending where it should? If so then you’ll win a lot more trust and maximize your potential.