Closure: Begin With the End in Mind

Jan 27, 2015, Written by Sue Miley

beginwithendI have been in a constant state of distraction lately, coupled with a cup of frustration, and a pinch of exhaustion.  That is what happens to me without closure.  I was buying a new office and selling an old one.  I have also been trying to move my Mom, who has been staying with me for 5 months, to a more permanent solution for her care and her independence.

It has taken months to bring either to a close.  The burden of a project or a situation that you cannot close is much bigger than you imagine it will be. It creeps up on you. As you wear down, it grows. The burden can feel insurmountable.

What is the Result?

Being in flux has many repercussions:

  • Distraction – when you have any free time, rather than figure out what client work needs to be done, you are researching options, looking at timelines, and contacting people. The time spent on the move stretches out to all available moments.
  • Disorganization – you can’t put things away, schedule your time, or work your process because everything isn’t as it should be. Even if it wasn’t an office move, when we have one major project that isn’t finishing, everything else gets put aside. I’ll organize it later. When I get to it, I will get it all in order.
  • Paralysis – so much clutter in your mind creates paralysis for some. Without an end to a project, product, contract, etc. we just can’t clear our head. With all of the clutter, we feel stuck. Stuck in an uncomfortable, painful spot.

Sometimes we can’t help it.  Sometimes lack of closure is out of our control.  But many times we don’t gain closure for a couple of key reasons:

Why We Don’t Gain Closure

Reason #1:  Indecision

I can’t decide because so many others are impacted.  And if you are an ENFP on the Myers Briggs personality profiles, you want everyone to be happy.  And, of course, everyone has a difference of opinion.  With my Mom’s move, we all wanted different things.  I wanted her to be in an assisted living near me.  My sister wanted one that had more things for her to do. My other sister didn’t want her to have to spend so much money.

Meanwhile, she was living in a temporary place in the middle of my house. It just wasn’t set up for a few months stay much less a permanent stay.

Since we couldn’t decide, we just postponed.  Let’s wait until after the chemo.  We need to get through her birthday.  Christmas is here, let’s just wait for the new year.  The last postponement came when my uncle was coming to visit.  Let’s just wait until…..

I had to decide.  The lack of closure was almost debilitating.  Once I insisted on a decision, things moved to a very quick closure.  My Mom moved into her new apartment within a week.

She has all of her things in her new place. They didn’t fit at my house.

And I have my house back and am getting everything settled.

If we had just made a decision, everything would have been fine, and we would all have had the closure we needed rather than a looming decision ahead of us.

Reason #2:  Lack of Commitment

The second is commitment.  Well it could be the first thing.  I am not sure.  Indecision and commitment are so closely tied together.  They are different though.  You can make a decision.  We made the decision to buy the building.  But there were so many moving pieces and parts.  I knew I wanted to paint and put in new floors. I also wanted to move before the end of the year. But the bank needed an appraisal and that required several weeks to wait.

The owner of the new building wanted to know when I was planning to move. The buyer of my current building wanted to know when we could close. My team wanted to know if they could turn on things, turn off things, buy things, get rid of things.

I had told them we were moving but I had not fully committed. When I tried to analyze why I was stuck, this was the answer. I had decided to move but was not committed to the plan.

Once I committed, all of the smaller decisions became easy. I just moved forward knowing we would end up in the new office. If I had not started moving forward, we would have just now started the renovations, as we just closed a week ago.

With Closure Behind Me

Today, I am writing this in my new office, and once finished, will go to pick my Mom up at her new apartment.  These projects are behind me.  With closure, I can finish the small tasks left without distraction, disorganization, and paralysis.

I can begin to plan for moving forward on the journey.  It feels like I have space again.  Space to breath, space to think, and most importantly, space to follow God again.

I talk to others and here the same strain when they are trying to bring closure to a season of life, a key project, a move, or whatever the current point of interest they are trying to complete before moving forward on their journey.

Lack of closure can be exhausting and suck the joy out of the work you are doing or the project you are embarking on.

Begin With The End In Mind 

With that said, my final piece of advice is something I read in the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.  It is Habit #1, Begin with the End in Mind.  I believe he was speaking on a much broader scale of life, but I think it is applicable here too.

When you start on a project, plan the end.  Plan for closure.  Know when to be done and start moving forward again.

Questions: How do you feel when you are stuck?  What do you think keeps you from moving forward?

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Sue Miley

Sue Miley MBA, MA, LPC helps small business owners build successful businesses on a foundation of Christian values. After 20 years in business, and 10 years as a Christian counselor, Sue uses a combination of faith, business and psychology to help clients in business and in life.

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