Do you have a hundred plates spinning in the air?

Are you expecting them to come crashing down any minute? 

Are you buckling under the weight of your responsibility? 

Are you losing sleep while your mind races over all that remains undone? 

Are you neglecting your family, friends and yourself? 

Are you overwhelmed?  

It was easy for me to make that list of questions.  I just thought about how I’ve felt on my hardest days during the last 6 months.   

At the beginning of this year, I took on a large project for a client.  I knew going in that it would be a great challenge.  I expected it to dominate my time and attention.  I knew it would require me to bring my A-game.  But I was excited by the challenge, and invigorated by the possibility of what a job well done would mean personally, professionally and for the sake of others. 

I made a step by step plan, trying to predict every potential road block ahead.  But I fooled myself into thinking that if I followed it and did my best, I’d arrive at the end of this project, unscathed.  Needless to say, life happened, as it always does, and over time, there were dozens of obstacles and distractions I couldn’t have named beforehand.  I had imagined reaching the end would feel something like crossing a finish line in victory, making my way to a podium and collecting a medal.  It actually feels more like sliding into home, skinning my knee and limping back to the bench. 

And you know what?  I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I put my heart into every piece of this project that I touched.  I offered something that no one else in the world could offer it.  My work is worthy of my name.  I gave my best.  But, there was a time when I almost didn’t care anymore – and that’s why I’m writing today.  I learned something in this process that I’m not sure I’d truly known before.   

The final 10% is designed to show you what you’re made of. 

If you’re a smart and resourceful person, your existing ability is enough to get you through the first 90% of most things you do. It’s that final ten percent – the last little bit before you reach a big goal – where you’re really tested.  You’ve come so far.  You’ve given so much.  The initial excitement has worn off.  Your adrenaline is used up.  You’re tired and nearing empty.  You can see the end in sight.  But then, seemingly out of nowhere, obstacles and distractions come at you from every side.  You find that you’re not as close as you thought you were, and you begin to wonder if you’ve got enough left in you to finish well. 

Welcome to the final 10%.  This is where you find something in yourself that wasn’t there before.  This is how you become the next and better version of yourself. This is when you grow.   

Few people finish well when things get tougher than they expected.  Out of fatigue or maybe even laziness, they grow complacent and lower the bar.  They look for short cuts.  They cut corners.  And in the process, after having come so far and done so much hard work, they fall short of what they’re capable of and created for.  They settle, and sacrifice the glory of bringing their whole selves to their goal or cause. 

Let it never again be said of you and me.   

If you’re tired – keep digging deep. 

If you’re overwhelmed – do the next right thing.  

If you’re tempted to lower the bar – don’t.  Do what you said you’d do. 

Better yet, do more than you said you’d do – and do it with a smile on your face.  

Inspire others to dig deeper in themselves.

This is what you were made for. 

After six months of some of the hardest work I’ve ever taken on, I’m on the other side.  My goal really is in sight.  I’m almost done and I’m beginning to taste the fruit of my labor. It’s sweeter than I’d imagined.  It’s worth every single bit of the trouble and sacrifice.  Having so recently stood where some of you stand today, I want to share with you what I needed to hear myself, most especially during my final ten percent.   

You will make it. 

You can do this. 

It will be worth your effort and sacrifice. 

Great things are ahead of you… for you, and for others because of you. 

Don’t give up. 

Keep going.  

The final 10% will make or break you.  Finish well.  Go do what only you can do, and do it all the way.

This Post Has 19 Comments

  1. Jamie C.


    I absolutely LOVE this post! Would you be willing to allow me to share it on my blog, The Paralegal Society, with a reprint line and link back to your site? I’d know that our readers (busy, working paralegals who often must finish in the clutch) would really appreciate your words of wisdom.

    Keep up the inspirational writing. You truly touch others with your words. Keep going!

    ~ Jamie

  2. Makito46Yt46

    Very, very nice page! :)

    [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ‘0 which is not a hashcash value.

  3. Doug Mayhew

    As a person with narcolepsy, I frequently loose track of my time and need encouragement to complete a project. This is a very great post. I always look forward to your posts; always great thoughtful advice that is right on the mark!

  4. Ben Storie

    Fine. But just know there is a big, fat baby inside me and he’s not going to be happy.

    And yes, I realize it sounds like I’m pregnant.

    1. Chance

      HAA!! Maybe my favorite comment of all time. Could you come back, please?

      1. Ben Storie

        Come back? Like with more snappy banter?

        1. Chance

          Yes, comment on each blog with something that will make us laugh. That’s your assignment – go.

  5. Landy Maughon

    Great read Chance! Thanks…needed that.

    1. Chance

      You’re welcome, Landy! Thank YOU for taking the time to read the post. :)

  6. Anna-Emily

    Those final 10% are truly the hardest. Like lots of people sometimes I give up just because I get too tired of doing something and lose interest. God only know how many times I was really close to reaching my goals but it never happened because I gave up. Next time I feel like giving up I’ll try to remember about the final 10%. Actually this time is now. Only 10% of work is left and obstacles seem overwhelming. So now I’ve got to dare myself to find a way to get where I want to get. Wish me luck!

    1. Chance

      The good news is the past is the past, and the future will be molded by our current and future choices. Good luck – to you and to ALL of us! :) You can do it, Anna-Emily!

  7. Janet

    Chance! Just experienced this with a very arduous yet fulfilling project. Thank you for putting into words the journey of the creative heart and life. Bless you my friend.

    1. Chance

      JANET! I’m so happy to see you here. A happy surprise. :) Yes, those of us who are called to create something from nothing struggle through this time and time again. Glad to know I’m not alone… and glad you made it through. :)

  8. Erin Ulrich

    Thanks for this Chance! I really needed this today, big time!! I’m at the end of a big project and feeling like I don’t have it in me to finish, though I know that I do. This was super encouraging!

    1. Chance

      YAY! I’m so glad this post found you at a good time to encourage you!! :) Thanks so much for reading.

  9. Kevin

    Perfect. Just what I needed to hear and right on time. Thank you, my friend. I’m tired and spent, but this is the final stretch. No giving up now. Your encouragement literally brings tears to my eyes today. THANK YOU!

    1. Chance


  10. Monetary

    Wow, really inspiring post. I really understand where you’re coming from. With my blog, and also trying to become a basketball player; there are many times where I’m like “ugh..I don’t want to shoot anymore baskets”, or “I’ll just write later”. Pushing through and giving that final 10% really does mean the most. I’d like to feature this post on my blog, hit me up if you’re interested.


    1. Chance

      Thanks so much! :) Yes, I’d love for you to share this on your blog. I’m glad it resonated with you.

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