About nine months ago, two synergistic things happened: I decided to get in shape and we got a new dog. And he’s a miniture poodle pup named Banksy that needs to be walked…a lot.
So each day, I walk him up and down the Hollywood Hills. Some days, I’ve got a lot on my plate, and the thirty minute walks can make me a little frantic that I’m not getting work done. (Note: I don’t believe in filling that time with phone-work.) Sometimes, since the hills are so steep, the last 1/2 mile of the walk tuckers me out.
Sometimes I’d turn right on the street just before ours, and climb a steep street that ends in a culdesac. It was an extra 1/4 mile of up and down walking. More often that not, I’d just look up that street and decide, “not today.”
And then one day a few months ago, as I reached the culdesac street/home intersection, I thought of a Napoleon Hill quote from my youth: “A quitter never wins, and a winner never quits.” Then I made an internal commitment: I’m going to do this last lap every time I walk the dog. I considered it a test of my ability to commit to an action, and do it even when I lacked time or strength.
And since that day, I’ve done that last lap every time. As Stephen Covey Sr. said, “Inward victories lead to outward victories.” This sense of comittment has spread to my work, leading to last laps I do everyday, even when it’s late or I’m exhausted. I’m doing one right now, writing content for my readers at the end of a long day. When I’m working on a project, I consider that extra round of quality assurance and iteration the find lap of excellence. These all stem from a simple decision: Finishing is a practice, not an intention.
Do you have a last lap of commitment in your life?