A pilot has it right. In their training, they work on two very important things, the ‘takeoff’ and ‘landing.’
While sitting on a plane, which was about to taxi down the runway for a takeoff, I was struck with the thought, “I am thankful that a pilot has to learn and practice both."
For years I spent many hours in a practice room, playing the trumpet, trying to learn and polish specific pieces of music. To learn a new piece I always started the first measure, the beginning (takeoff). As you progress through the learning process, making and correcting mistakes, you find yourself going back to the beginning many times, therefore the first measures were always the most rehearsed. For me, it was often the case that even when I worked the ending (landing) those final measures never got the same amount of attention as the beginning.
At the performance, the audience will remember a great start but what they will stick with them most is how you finish (landing).
Company Meeting: You’ve been there the meeting starts strong and about half way through fizzles with little energy.
Sermon: The speaker got our attention with a great story and moved quickly into good content only to see it lose energy without a great closing statement or call to action.
Short Devotional: The leader had a great start and even good concept to communicate but the lack of thought on the ending kept us wandering repeatedly through the same thoughts.
Training Session: The content has been put together, you dig in but as the time drags on, it just stops or dies because the teacher didn’t plan for the end.
I needed to be reminded of this.
Every time I have the opportunity to lead or plan a meeting, whether that be a small group devotion, a meeting of my office peers, or a company-wide training, I need to carefully think through and practice both the beginning and the ending.
It wouldn’t be good enough for a pilot to only know how to get the plane off the ground. He also has to know how and practice the landing.