the power of year-endThe best teams play hard to the finish. The most exciting races come down to people competing through the finish line. There is tremendous power in the final few weeks of the year – it is the final leg of the race. The power of year-end is finishing the race to the end, powering through while others are coasting. Here’s how you can do that.

What Might Get in the Way

There is plenty that can lead to coasting this time of the year.  There is the shopping, the parties, and the other end-of-the year festivities. Chances are your calendar has entries you don’t see during the rest of the year.

A bigger obstacle is likely the influence and prevailing “wisdom” of the crowd.

Most people won’t follow the advice of this article.

Most people say (and act like) no one is working during the holidays.

Most people are in (whether they realize it or not) coasting mode.

Overcoming Those Obstacles

There are ways to get past the obstacles of the calendar and prevailing wisdom – let’s look at each.

Look closely at your calendar.  I believe that celebrating and time with your team is important and deserves to be on your calendar.  But look at all the entries. Are there any that don’t serve you and your goals and are distractions?  Are there any that you can minimize or even remove from your calendar?  Every one of these activities/commitments that you can remove is one more opportunity for you to finish strong.  I am not saying to be callous or uncaring – nor am I suggesting you hurt your long-term relationships with your decisions.  Rather, I am suggesting a balanced approach to the decisions you make with your times during the last month of the year.

And as for the opinions of others, here’s a general truth.

If you want to succeed, do the opposite of the prevailing wisdom.

Think about it this way.  How many of those saying “no one is working during the holidays” will reach their goals for the year? How many of those treating December like a month-long holiday will be as successful as they could be?

Overcoming these pervasive and persuasive obstacles starts with deciding for yourself what you want and how you want to use your time to reach your goals.

Finishing Powerfully

Once you get past the common obstacles, here are ways you can finish strong and powerfully, using the last month of the year to drive better performance and results.

  • Reconnect with purpose. When things are hard or diversions exist, it is best to remind ourselves of our why. What is the purpose or meaning of your goals?  Focus on the purpose more than the target – the purpose is more motivating and galvanizing than the target anyway.
  • Focus on your goals. As important as your purpose is, the targets still matter. Use the last month to surpass the targets you set that are still in reach.  If the world has changed, or your initial targets won’t be reached, build momentum and belief now, so that next year this time your targets are in sight, or you have already passed them.
  • Listen to your voice, not others. You know what you want and need – and your purpose, resolve and goals may be different than others.  Listen to your voice, not the voice of the crowd.
  • Go 10% harder. Most people, most of the time, have a gear they aren’t using.  When we accelerate, especially when others are coasting, we can widen the effort and results gap quickly.  This may help you stand out as a performer in your organization or move you towards your desired results.  Remember that you are competing with yourself, not others, and yet the difference in your effort and resolve will be easily seen when others are watching.

Now is the time to accelerate, not coast.  And when you do, good things will happen with your results, and with your confidence and outlook as you move into a New Year.


If you have been informed or inspired by this, or if anything else I have written, said or done has contributed to your success and confidence as a leader and human, I would love your help…

Last year, I was named to the Global Gurus Leadership list – perhaps the most prestigious list of leadership thought leaders. It happened without me even knowing I had been nominated.

Voting is now open for inclusion on the 2023 list. If you think I am qualified and can take about a minute, I would love your vote.

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Kevin Eikenberry is a recognized world expert on leadership development and learning and is the Chief Potential Officer of The Kevin Eikenberry Group ( He has spent nearly 30 years helping organizations across North America, and leaders from around the world, on leadership, learning, teams and teamwork, communication and more.
Twice he has been named by as one of the top 100 Leadership and Management Experts in the World and has been included in many other similar lists.

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  1. I would have to agree with you, Sir.

    Set yours goals, manage your ownself, set boundaries (good and bad), use your calenders, use your resources, knowledge, and most of all your abilities.

    Clear and precise communication with others are very important. You already know "whom" you can trust.

    This Year validated it more than last in more WAYS than you could every IMAGINE.

    This article was on point.

    Thank you again.

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