Top athletes know that follow-through is key to success. Every golfer, baseball player, and tennis pro follow the trajectory of their swing after hitting the ball; basketball players shoot and allow their hands to suspend in space until the ball reaches the basket; gymnasts stick a landing then raise their hands high. Why?

These athletes know the importance of using momentum to “land” a move to empower results. Something important happens after the point of physical contact. The impact of your intention and energy travels. It has power.

We also see this in business. Great speakers pause for effect after a sharing an inspiring point, comedians do that too. Great leaders know how to follow-through on a project, celebrate milestones and appreciate staff efforts at project completion. Great horsemen know how to allow a request to “land” with a horse and wait before asking again or for something else. Follow-through is about letting the movement and intention finish uninterrupted.

Most of us run around with incomplete follow-through. We pile-up half-finished projects and unresolved issues, and bounce on the periphery of potential deep relationships. We rush to get all our thoughts communicated before hurrying off to the next meeting or client. Sometimes we even shift mid-sentence to a new thought or request. We stunt the natural course of momentum and often suffer mediocre results.

I watched the follow-through process unfold last week in our Equine Behavior workshop. Each participant was given an opportunity to lead a horse and ask it to stop, walk forward and back-up. There was a fine but obvious difference when the horse had completed the request physically versus when the participant “followed-through” and allowed the request to “land.” It only took a second or two, but there was a visible settling and acceptance by the horse when the participant followed-through. Subsequent responses to a request came faster and easier. Without follow-through, the horse appeared nervous and expectant and was sometimes slow or incorrect in responding to a request.

Following-through requires presence of mind, patience and keen awareness. It’s worth the effort.