Three Traits of Leaders Who Finish Strong

Life’s battles don’t always go To the stronger or faster man, But soon or late the man who wins Is the one who thinks he can. - From, The Man Who Thinks He Can, by Walter D. Wintle

The Greeks had a race in their Olympic games that was unique. The winner was not the runner who finished first. It was the runner who finished with his torch still lit.
As we move down the stretch toward the end of 2015 now might be a good time to think about how you are finishing the year. As it was with the Greeks, it’s the one who finishes the race with his torch still lit that wins.
At this juncture in the year you may be tired and weary. You may be more than ready to turn the page on 2015 and welcome a clean slate that awaits you in 2016.
With the finish line of 2015 in sight let’s consider the traits of leaders who finish strong. It’s a simple list and is certainly not an exhaustive one. You may want to add to it. These are my top three.
Leaders who finish strong have clarity of purpose
One of the traits of leaders who finish strong are those who live their life intentionally with purpose. Each day is seen as a gift and an opportunity to add value to those around them and make a difference in their world.
Living and leading with purpose makes each day meaningful and unique. It’s an opportunity to use your God-given gifts and abilities for a good cause. When you live your life with purpose it motivates you in a different way. No longer is it about you, it’s about others. A selfless leader is a strong leader who will also finish strong.
Leaders who finish strong have a resilient attitude
I’ve yet to meet a leader who doesn’t face his or her fair share of problems and adversity. It comes with the territory. Maybe more so. But the leader who finishes strong is not the one who was exempt from adversity but the one who endured it.
Leaders who finish strong have discovered the secret that it’s not about what happens to them that matters but what happens in them that sets them apart. Leaders who finish strong have a resilient attitude that never gives up. They understand that they are responsible for it and work at having a good one every day.
Leaders who finish strong have tapped into their work-life balance
“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy,” so says the old proverb. Leaders who finish strong are those who understand the importance of a sound work-life balance. These leaders know and understand the value of hard work and give it their all day in and day out. They roll up their sleeves and are willing to go the extra mile to get the job done.
But finishing strong requires balance. And if as a leader you are burning the candle at both ends with no balance in your life as it pertains to rest and recreation soon you will be of little value to anyone.
Leaders who finish strong are able to do so because they have found the balance they need. Make sure that you give your mind and body the rest it needs and deserves. Remember, it was not about finishing the race first for the Greeks that mattered, it was finishing with your torch still lit. If you cross the finish line of 2015 burned out and spent how will you begin 2016?
As the year draws to a close think about how you can finish strong. What action steps do you need to take? It’s not too late. Finish strong and be ready to tackle a new year with a renewed sense of passion and purpose.
© 2015 Doug Dickerson
Doug Dickerson is an internationally recognized leadership speaker, columnist and author. A Lowcountry resident, Doug is available to speak for your civic, business, or church group. To learn more visit

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