Tag Archives: create

Why I am So Afraid of the Finish Line

Photo by infomatique (Creative Commons)

Photo by infomatique (Creative Commons)

I am just going to come out and say it – finishing scare me. To the core of my being. Whether it’s a project for work, writing a book, or hiking to the top of a mountain – it’s the end I am afraid of more than anything else.

This fear has risen to the top of my mind lately, because I have been in a season with a lot of finish lines. I just sent a short book on hope to my editor (details will be forthcoming). I have a presentation for a major client in two days, and a key milestone for another client two days after. My wife and I have decided to stop sitting on the sidelines at our new church and start serving.

Everywhere I look, there are finish lines. And I tremble a bit inside. I don’t think I am alone in this fear.

Why are we afraid to finish?

Our work becomes public. When we are in process, nobody sees what we do. How we operate. What our process looks like. Everything changes once we finish. We can no longer hide what we have toiled over. Our finished product is now available for all (or some) to see. This is the root of the fear.

Other will judge our efforts. Others will place value on what we have done. Good or bad, we will hear the commentary about our efforts and the end results of those efforts. We don’t want to be judged, so we stop before we cross the finish line. Or we crawl forward slowly. Inch by inch. When we have the stamina to sprint.

We assume the worst. Once we give audience to the voice of fear, we can become paralyzed. The worst case scenario suddenly becomes the most likely scenario. We actually start to believe publishing our book will result in the fall of the modern economic system worldwide.

My advice to you, and to myself:

Cross the finish line with bravado. Rejoice in the process. Be proud of your art. (You can tweet that)

Learn from your detractors, but don’t take them so seriously. The economic system will still be running tomorrow. You will still put your pants on one leg at a time tomorrow.

Then get back to creating. As my friend Tim Gallen once told me: Shut up and create!