The way something ends says a lot about it’s deepest qualities.

Some divorces end peacefully – usually these marriages were peaceful. Many divorces end with resentment and battles over money and kids to ensure the pain continues well after the marriage is over. In such cases the unexpressed hurt and conflict was lurking just beneath the surface all along.

Business partnerships can be the same way. Lives can be the same way. Often someone who dies peacefully, accepting death as inevitable with no one to blame (yes this is loaded with a belief about the serendipity and synchronicity of life) reflects the way a person lived their life.

I am thinking about Joe Paterno. I hope he is remembered for his care and inspiration to his players and for his amazing success as a coach. I also hope he is remembered for the grief he felt about boys Sandusky allegedly took advantage of. And for his willingness to be interviewed, practically on his deathbed, in order to express his remorse.

I think it’s interesting that the Paterno era at Penn State ended with an event that brought a focus on the business of college football and how the machine had such a huge blind spot.

It is useful exercise to think about how you want things that you are in the middle of now, to end. What do you want to make sure is preserved? What do you want to celebrate in terms of what the relationship or team or organization stood for?

Use this vision for the end to determine what you need to do now to ensure the ending is what you want it to be?