Caesar, not as in “Caesar’s Palace” in Las Vegas, but Caesar, as in Julius Caesar, the man, was truly an amazing individual. If he were alive today, I sincerely believe he’d be the most successful man on the planet, for one simple reason: the dude had incredible follow-through. Whatever he promised his legions, the people of Rome, or his friends, that he would do, he did. Period. Despite an avalanche of apparently insurmountable challenges, he always came through.
Why on earth, you ask, should this matter to me, here and now? After all, Caesar has been dead for over 2000 years, and our world is vastly different from his. True. But I have learned a lot from his example, from his dedicated, passionate, unstoppable follow-through.
Namely, that goal-setting isn’t enough. You see, most of us are great at goal setting. Isn’t that what we do every New Year’s when we put forth those resolutions? They’re really just a set of goals. And don’t we (I!) too often find the same goals making their way onto our New Year’s resolution list year after year? Boring! Wouldn’t it be a whole lot more satisfying to accomplish those goals so you could set new ones in the following year?
I have a friend I dearly love, who has been telling me for the past 5 years that he’s going to write a book. A story near and dear to his heart, one I now know so well I think I could almost write it for him – and yet it never makes its way onto a page. He has his goal! To write his book. What he hasn’t got, is Caesar’s gift for follow-through.
Follow-through isn’t complicated, but it does take two primary characteristics: passion for your goal, and the persistence to see it through. A fantastic example of someone who has demonstrated phenomenal follow-through is a nine-year-old boy in Chicago, Jahkil Jackson, who when he saw the plight of the homeless, decided to do something about it.
What struck Jahkil is that homeless people didn’t even have the wherewithal to start their day, so he created “Blessing Bags,” filled with toothbrushes, toothpaste, socks, soap, deodorant, the ordinary self-care things we all need. Jahkil personally distributes the “Blessing Bags” from the back of his godfather’s pick-up truck, a truly hands-on young man. Since February of 2016, when Jahkil started his adventure in giving (at age eight!), he’s distributed over 2000 “Blessing Bags.” His goal is to distribute 5000 by the end of this year.
Now, 2000 “Blessings Bags” didn’t appear by magic. It took a whole lot of planning, thinking, creativity, reaching out to resources, figuring out all the what-how-who-where-when. In a word, follow-through. And yes, Jahkil is the prime mover in this. The goal was/is huge! Most of us, myself included, would be daunted by all that it takes to bring such a project to fruition. It took disciplined, consistent effort – supported and nurtured by Jahkil’s ardent desire to do good where he believed it could make a real difference. Caesar would be proud.
I invite you to a challenge – the follow-through challenge. I invite you to select a goal, any goal, large or small, that you can feel truly passionate about, and then I invite you to invest your heart and soul into it, to persist! To figure out the steps to getting there, to prioritize the steps, to set deadlines for yourself, to find the resources, to make the effort, to keep going when the going gets tough. To surround yourself with people and thoughts which inspire you, to keep your enthusiasm high when it flags – as it will and does for all of us, even the most successful.
In other words, I challenge you to prove to yourself that you can achieve your goals! And oh, what fun you will have when you do!