When to Make the Most Difference

Painful endings and uncertain beginnings are the two moments you make the most difference in a leader’s life.

Enabling others to continue on their current course often adds value; facilitating an ending is a treasure.

Endings are like giving birth. They begin with pain.

Painful endings:

All great journeys begin with painful endings. Immanent endings are powerful opportunities to to step in and enrich others. Those who can’t end well can’t begin.

High impact begins by helping leaders end well. 

Destructive endings:

Leaders often acknowledge they need change but frequently persist in destructive, ineffective behaviors. All endings are destructive. Destruction hurts.

Bad endings reek of anger, bitterness, and over reactions. For example, quitting a job before another is lined up. Running toward a new future is harder than running from a painful past. That’s where you come in.

Help people end well by helping them let go. Everyone’s stuck till they let go.

Contrasting skills:

Helping people end well includes two contrasting skills, encouraging and Butt kicking. Encourage aggressively; kick butt wisely. Encouragement without butt kicking stagnates. Butt kicking apart from encouragement increases resistance and frustration.

  1. Provide persistent affirmations.
  2. Explore what isn’t working.
  3. Help them identify what needs to end.
  4. Offer occasional corrections. Positive affirmations empower negative corrections.


Never fix. People build walls to keep fixers out. Fixers undermine confidence, degrade potential, and reject what is. People are responsible for their own development.


Endings without beginnings are empty. “10 Questions that Give Vitality to Beginnings

How do you help leaders end well?

What are the dangers or pain points of helping someone end well?


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