Commitment & Expectation – How Hard is it to Keep Your Word?

I’ve been doing this a year, this blog, one year.  And faithfully I have posted my writing each week on Mondays.  I have committed to this and done this through vacations, sickness, work and other stressors or time stealers.  I like that I committed to it and have stuck to it.  I like that a friend of mine gave me some really good advice when I wanted to start the blog – be consistent, post frequently.  I like that I listened.  

I won’t lie, its been tough sometimes.  Like today, after a long day on site with a client, then some email clean up work and other things to attend to, then to pack and get ready for a very early flight tomorrow, this was the last thing I wanted to do, but, so was not sticking to my commitment.  

The way I am wired is that when I make up my mind and I commit, I’m all in and I don’t give up easily or quickly.  When I’m not totally committed, I give up far easier.  Why? Because it doesn’t mean anything to me? No, I don’t think that’s it, more that it doesn’t mean that much to me, as my husband would say ‘not a hill to die on.’  

And one of my pet peeves, scratch that, its not even a pet, its all peeve – is when people don’t keep their word.  I completely understand that things get in the way and life takes you other directions or you get hung up or whatever.  But at the end of the day, its a choice to not keep you word.  

I have a lot of reasons why I wouldn’t write this blog tonight, but none of them are worth going back on what I committed to myself.  Or what I have also committed to the people who read my blog on Mondays.

Its simple in so many ways and not so simple in so many other ways.  I told my husband when we first started dating, if you are going to be late for a date just call me, just let me know because its not fair that I am waiting for you.  It saves us both, he’s not worried I’m upset and I’m not upset because I’m informed and respected.  

I am not dismissing that there are really good reasons why people are late.  I am also not dismissing the really good opportunity you have to be respectful to those who are waiting for you.  Lateness is just one example, there are plenty of ways we don’t keep our word.

  • I’ll call you later.  And you don’t.
  • I’ll finish it tomorrow.  And you don’t.
  • I’ll exercise three times a week.  And you don’t.
  • I’ll pick that up on my way home. And you don’t
  • I’ll…

Its the same reason we all get so pissed off when the courier or postal service doesn’t keep their commitment on when something will be delivered.  They sell it to us, we believe them, they fail and don’t notify us, we get angry, we doubt them next time. Why is it different than if you are consistently late?  Or consistently forgetful and unapologetic? Does it make a difference if we pay for it? Does that give us some sort of right?  But what about the non-monetary price that people pay when we don’t keep our word?  What about expectation? Expectations that we help them set?  

This isn’t about being perfect, its about trying to be better.  If you spend a few minutes each day conscious of what you commit to and also when you don’t meet that commitment, you might become more selective in what expectation you help set and about how or when you will keep word.  

And in your daily leadership decisions, consider how not keeping your word, as simple as not being on time or not calling someone back, may affect the level of trust your team has in you – then think about how easy it might be to change that course.  

As Wayne Dyer says, ‘excuses be gone!’

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