Following Through in Life

Bill Abbate

In personal and business life, follow-through is one of the most essential abilities a person can develop. Without it, little will get done. It is an extremely valuable form of discipline. Socrates identified one of the earliest mentions of the failure to follow through as akrasia, known today as the Akrasia Effect. Akrasia, translated from the Greek, means "lacking command." In modern language, it is called procrastination.

"It was character that got us out of bed, commitment that moved us into action, and discipline that enabled us to follow through." – Zig Ziglar

The lack of follow-through is a common issue for most employers. Those of us in business experience far too often. Anyone responsible or driven to get results will find it incredibly frustrating when people fail to follow through. This is true in our personal lives as well. I am sure you have a family member or friend who can't seem to follow through. If so, show them this article!

Face it; it is very frustrating when someone tells you they will do something, and they fail to do it. Or when someone doesn't follow up as they promised. Or you spend endless time waiting for them to call, and they don't. The lack of following through brings needless stress into our lives.

Am I making you anxious yet? This is a serious subject as it adds to or detracts from the very quality of your life!

To be clear, the definition we are using for follow-through in this article from the Oxford Dictionary is:

Follow-through (noun) - "the continuing of an action or task to its conclusion."

Let's look at some consequences of not following through, the benefits, and what is needed.

Consequences and Failures of Not Following Through

To not follow through is to simply fail.

Until the person gains a sound understanding of what the lack of follow-through means, and its harmful results, they will remain ignorant of what their lack of action creates.

Here is a list of some of the consequences of their failure to follow through. Ask yourself if you want to go through life this way. They are:

  • Coming across as disrespectful
  • Projecting a nonchalant attitude
  • Acting with ignorance
  • Acting mindlessly
  • Acting thoughtlessly
  • Being selfish
  • Failing

If a person has a problem following through, the last item, failing, has not settled into their mind very well. No one wants to be a failure, yet that is what they are if they fail to follow through. Harsh words? Yes. Sometimes a healthy dose of reality is what it takes to wake a person up!

If you are getting paid to do a job, respect the person and the company you work for, you will step up your game. If you fail to follow through personally, you are showing disrespect and should also step up your game!

Admittedly, there is an occasional occurrence where you do not want to follow through, but we are not talking about exceptions. Our focus here is on what legitimate follow-through looks like in life and at work. What we are discussing is the Akrasia Effect, outright procrastination.

To not follow through is a waste of effort and energy. The consequences will mount over time, and you will reap in a way you do not want!

Do you know anyone that's always starting something new but never finishes anything? How often do they win?

When you don't follow through on something, you are telling yourself it isn't important. If that something involves another person, you are likely disrespecting them; your actions tell them they are not important enough for your time.

"Spare your words, your actions will speak for you." – Akiroq Brost

Let's look at some of what not following through can mean:

  • You don't care
  • You don't respect them
  • It's just not important
  • It doesn't really matter
  • It's a non-issue
  • Who cares?
  • You don't value the other person
  • You don't value your job
  • You lack personal responsibility
  • You lack maturity
" The immature mind hops from one thing to another; the mature mind seeks to follow through." – Harry Allen Overstreet

Do you want to be that immature person? Let's now turn to the positive side of following through.

The Value of Following Through

The benefits of following through are what success is made of. The more you follow through, the more wins you accumulate in life, whether at work or home.

"Diligent follow-up and follow-through will set you apart from the crowd and communicate excellence." – John C. Maxwell

Let's look at some of the benefits following thorough will bring into your life:

  • It shows you care about what you do and what you say. That you are true to your word.
  • It shows you are mature and respect the company and other people.
  • Every time you follow through, you obtain a win, no matter how small or large. Every win contributes to success.
  • It shows you are trustworthy and builds your credibility, invaluable traits for any employee or friend.
  • You will be seen and known as a leader, building and strengthening relationships.
  • You will stand out from the crowd.
  • You will reap the rewards of success!
"The faith comes by hearing; the reward by follow-through." – Johnnie Dent Jr.

This list contains only a few of the potential benefits of following though, and I'm sure you will find others.

When you follow through, you cannot help but win for you and the person on the other end.

What Does Follow Through Require?

Follow-through requires:

  • Determination
  • Self-respect
  • Respect for others
  • Respect for your employer
  • Respect for your time and your life
  • Respect for other people's time and their lives
  • Respect for your work or the work you do
  • Pushing through and past failure
  • Doing what is right
  • Moving forward
  • Not giving up and not giving in
  • Having integrity
  • Resilience
  • Tenacity
  • Maturity
  • Winning
  • Success!

Do you have what it takes to follow through? Can you respect your work and other people to gain the tremendous benefits of doing what so many fail to do? It's not that difficult. All you need to do is follow through!

Final Words

Do not be like the person who continually builds foundations, never completing anything. In the end, all they leave is a bunch of unfruitful, unfinished projects.

Be like the person who builds a foundation and sees it through to completion. In the end, they create something that benefits their life and those they love, which makes it all worthwhile. They will be known as a person who gets things done, who does what he says and says what he does.

"Do what you say you're going to do. Follow-through means never having to say you're sorry." – Mark Goulston

The bottom line of this article is this: Follow-through equals winning and success. Failing to follow through equals losing and failure. Choose your path in life wisely and follow through!

"Human beings absolutely follow through on who they believe they are." – Tony Robbins

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Semi-Retired-Leadership/Executive Coach -Personal & Career Growth Expert -Editor and Leadership Writer at Illumination -Author

Richmond, VA
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