It’s finals week at my son’s high school. Sure, it doesn’t seem fair that at a time when the semester is winding down, you’re slapped with a huge test worth 20% of your grade. (Just wait until you get to college where finals are worth 65%.)
At times like this, consider the motto of my high school: Finis Coronat Opus — the finish crowns the work.
We are judged by our results. Our bosses don’t care how many hours we spent on a report as long as it’s accurate and submitted on time. Customers at a restaurant want their food to be delicious, properly and safely cooked, and delivered in a timely manner. It doesn’t matter to them if a cook called out sick and a deep fryer is broken, which meant that you had to run around the kitchen to put orders together. Customer’s didn’t pay for your sweat. They paid to eat!
This isn’t as cold as it sounds. Our ability to deliver makes our effort worthwhile. It’s how we demonstrate our hard work and showcase our abilities. When we put together a great report or pull off a successful lunch rush despite the difficulties, we have something tangible to show for our efforts. It makes the struggle worthwhile. We can gain a sense of satisfaction and achievement from what we accomplished — not just how hard we worked.
Finis Coronat Opus also gives us hope. No matter how much we messed up to a certain point, we still have a chance to succeed. A great final can save us from failing a class. A team that was losing for most of a game can come from behind to win. The readers who enjoy a novel won’t care how many lousy drafts a writer went through before completing the manuscript.
Life gives us lots of tests, and we’re graded on what we deliver in response to them. We deliver our knowledge, our experience, and the tangible results of our labor. When we produce something great, we feel a tremendous sense of satisfaction. We feel all of our effort is worthwhile. That’s what Finis Coronat Opus means to me. It reminds me that I need to crown my work well.