A Starter or a Finisher. Which One are You?

I have a million ideas. I can’t fall asleep sometimes because I have too many ideas swimming in my noggin’. I wake up with even more ideas than when I went to bed the night before. It’s like my ideas are multiplying in my (very limited) sleep. It makes me crazy and it excites me all at once. I am a starter.

My husband is a finisher. The very second I utter the words, “I have an idea…”  I hear an audible groan come from the depths of his very soul.

I’m creative, fast paced and cannot sit still in one place for very long. Truthfully I can’t even watch an entire movie in one sitting at home because I get bored.

My husband Scott on the other hand, can sit and read (and actually has read) every single sentence in a mortgage/closing document. He will sit at the computer and stare at the screen for hours thinking, planning and strategizing. By the time he gets around to addressing an idea I’ve expressed earlier, I’m now on new idea # 4 for the day.

An online article in succesconnections.com said the following about starters and finishers:


  • Are pioneers and innovators who many think are “crazy”
  • Can see the big picture vision (but lack the steps between today and the big vision)
  • Tend to move at the speed of light
  • Get things started fast
  • Often over-stretch their commitments with a unrealistic idea of time
  • Rapidly move from today’s hundred ideas to tomorrow’s next hundred ideas (and expect everyone else to keep up.)


  • Love taking an idea and making it real
  • Excel at getting things done
  • Have an excellent grasp at prioritization and time management
  • See the steps and can reverse engineer any big vision

Sounds about right.

At the end of the day, every company needs a starter and a finisher. It’s a rare breed who is actually both. The danger in being a starter is you can have so many irons in the fire, they all run the risk of never getting done thus causing you to go quickly out of business in a flaming ball of glory.

And the danger if you’re a finisher is you’ll never innovate. You’ll never take that risk and try to kick off a new venture, idea or project. You’ll slowly suffocate your business until the little tiny flame you’ve been fanning is out.

I can tell you first hand, it’s not easy to be married to and working with someone who is your opposite. I’m sure Scott does not enjoy trying to rein in my enthusiasm any more than I like trying to get him to rally around an idea that I desperately want to launch. Now.  Right now.

A good exercise for starters is to take stock in what is being initiated and to try and wrap your brain around the notion that there’s a lot of work to be done in order to get each new initiative off the ground aside from simply having that great idea.

For all the finishers out there, you need to recognize and embrace the creativity and potential for growth that your starter can provide your business with. Let your starter talk and express, with all their excitement and passion, their dreams and ideas. Write them down and prioritize them. Value these goals and pencil them in for when the time to tackle these ideas will be most appropriate. Not every good idea is a good idea today.

And to all you starters. Appreciate the qualities in your finishers. Patience, tenacity, attention to detail and dedication. All valuable traits that are vital to bringing your “next great thing” to life.

Creating, growing and maintaining a healthy business is a job for all types. Learning to understand and live with each other as starters and finishers is key not only to your business’ success but for your mental health as well.

~ T