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Finishing Well Is Difficult

Updated: Feb 15

The crowd watched in horror. It was heartbreaking.

Twenty-three-year-old Mika Noodt led for almost the entire Challenge Vieux Boucau triathlon. But, with less than one meter to go, after turning the final corner, powering down the home straight, and with just a few steps to go, he lost control of his legs and fell to the ground.

In a moment, all the years of preparation went to waste.

Finish-line implosions are not uncommon in Triathlon.

Sadly, the same is true for successful entrepreneurs.

Most leaders don’t finish well.

Even in the Bible. Robert Clinton studied the lives of over one thousand Biblical figures. He discovered that fewer than thirty percent finished well.

Finishing well happens when you reach the finish line and then do the celebratory victory lap. In this victory lap, you share all the learning and resources you have accumulated to create a better world.

In this victory lap, you share all the learning and resources you have accumulated to create a better world.

An ultra-successful business owner has been trying to get with me for some time. Finding the time to meet is a struggle.

He is so busy. “I don’t want to talk about this on the phone.” 

Driving in from North Carolina, we meet. “I am your age and I have been trying to sell my business. My broker has brought three prospects to look at the business. They are financially capable, price is not a hindrance. But when they realize that the business is so dependent on me, they walk. The truth is, they run!”

As he talks, I realize the problem.

“I personally generate half the sales. The sales and support staff are all older, like me."

What he says is revealing: "This has crept up on me. I am working for fifteen hours a day. My health is failing. I am seeing heart specialists. Something is wrong. But, I already know what it is. Stress.”

“Can you help me?”

For thirty years he has built a great business. But he has done it mostly alone. Hasn’t had a vacation in years.

“I print every one of your emails. I have over 80 emails printed, a stack of them,” he tells me. “I even recommend you to others.”

“Please, can you help me sell my business? How can I get the right buyers to look at and buy it?”

Weighing my words, I have to be honest. “I can’t help you sell your business. Without you, your business is nothing more than some physical assets. Your business can’t be sold as it is now.”

"Without you, your business is nothing more than some physical assets."

I ask him the question? “What do you think it will take to sell your business? You have had three potential buyers, all with the financial capacity to buy your business. Finding a buyer is not the problem.”

Through more questioning, I learn that he has stumbled onto steps one and two of the Cultivating Impact Succession planning: Recognize your impact and Develop your business as a mission. His business has a worthy (maybe even divine) cause.

But he has failed to build a team around him and the clock is ticking fast.

As is true with all of us, his time clock is ticking. We should all be working to make that time clock work in our favor. We make that clock work for us when we actively build a team to function around us.

He doesn’t have a life, and he knows it. In desperation, he is reaching out to me. He is seriously considering shutting down the business.


Many will lose their livelihood.

The community will suffer.

Vendors will struggle.

A divine mission will be thwarted.

His legacy will be destroyed.

I believe in you,

Harry T. Jones 

P.S. What would it be worth to you if I walked with you over the next year to help you with your succession planning? Sell your business? Establish your team. Imagine establishing your legacy over the next twelve months with a trusted coach who has walked where you are now. You are welcome to reply to this email and we will set a time to talk.

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