That one time Odysseus f*cked up bad in the home stretch.

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All of us have taken wrong turns, both literally and figuratively.

As a child, I remember my parents taking the wrong exit on a road trip home from Florida.

(This was back when you had to “print” your maps.)

When they informed me that we had added an additional three hours to the trip, I recall feeling like someone had eaten a bunch of Korean barbecue and taken a shit on my birthday cake.

I imagine Odysseus felt something similar on his “first” voyage home to Ithaca. He and his crew were so close to shore they could see smokestacks in the sky from their family’s bonfires.

With the long journey nearly over and just a stone’s throw from the finish line, Odysseus decided to lay down for a snooze.

It was during this snooze that shit hit the fan.

Some jack-ass got the bright idea to open Odysseus’s oxhide sack, certain the Greek hero was hiding gold.

But, come to find, the oxhide housed the adverse winds that Aelous (the keeper of the wind) had bottled up for Odysseus as a gift.

When the idiot slashed the bag, winds whipped out like sprawling serpents and sent the boat skirting back across the planet and past every ocean they had previously traveled.

Imagine waking up from your nap, thinking you’re about to make love to your wife whom you haven’t seen in a decade, only to find you’re thousands of miles away, back at the place where you first began.

Two words…

Blue balls.

Better yet, imagine being the ass-hat that opened the adverse winds and having to explain to your boss and the rest of your travel-weary crew what just went down…

“Fuck. I don’t know what to say, fellas. I just thought old cap’n was hiding some loot in the Oxhide and decided to take a peep… uhm… I know everyone is probably feeling pretty discouraged about being back where we started. But, let’s all keep a good attitude… let’s not do anything rash… like murder somebody.”

But, in all seriousness…

This tale from The Odyssey is a reminder to finish strong even when the finish line is just an arm’s reach away.

Agencies, freelancers, creatives and really anyone that has ever seen a project through to the very end knows first hand that “beginning” is much easier than “finishing”.

The ideation phase is a blast.

Everyone sits around in a pow-wow with their cold brews, and caffeine fuels the conversation like lightning bolts sent down from Zeus.

But, the real work happens long after these initial conversations when the project or the book or the campaign is 90% of the way done and you’re looking for the energy to power you and your team through the finish line

This, in my opinion, is what separates the greats from everyone else. Finding the tenacity to finish what you’ve started.

Few can.

Company blogs are testaments to this.

If I had a dollar for ever blog that hasn’t published anything for over a year, I wouldn’t be running a freelance writing business.

People are notorious for not finishing what they’ve started.

Thomas Kemeny, the copywriter behind the book Junior, once shared a story about how he worked as a creative director on a video for his agency’s client.

The video cost the client $140,000.

Once it was complete, the brand didn’t have the follow-thru and never aired the commercial, essentially taking $140,000 out of their marketing budget, pouring gasoline all over it and setting it ablaze

The moral of the story here?

Finish strong.

(And, consider letting the tigers through the goddamn door.)

By Cole Schafer.

You gotta check this out — Sticky Notes is my email list reserved strictly for entrepreneurs and creatives looking to sell like a Florida Snow Cone Vendor on the hottest day of the year.

Originally published at on May 15, 2020.

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I write pretty words and sometimes sell things.

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