August 29, 2012
A friend asked me the other morning, “how can we get people to keep their commitments?” The most powerful thing we can do to help others follow-through on the commitments they make, I responded, is to do so ourselves. Frankly, most of us are pretty lousy at commitments because we haven’t taken the time to look at what it really means to be committed to something or to make a commitment.
I’d like to quickly distinguish a “commitment” from “what we are committed to.” Where a commitment can be a short term promise where conditions are satisfied and the commitment no longer exists “what we are committed to” has a longer time frame and is the source of something deeper or more sustaining. In other words, I can make a commitment to provide a client with a deliverable that meets agreed upon conditions/criteria by a certain date. That is different from being committed to my life partner.
Stop Pretending To Be Committed
So, as it relates back to the question my friend raised, I propose the best way we can help others follow-through on their commitments is to do so ourselves. That begins with being clear about what it means to be committed and then recognize that commitments are not to be taken or entered into lightly. Perhaps the worst thing to do is to pretend we are committed to something when we are not. That is where things get messy. What is more powerful is to be able to say “I think X is important and it’s not something I’m committed to.” Then we know where we stand. Even more powerful than that is to say “I am committed to X.” I guarantee that if you look at what you are truly, unequivocally committed to in your life you will see that those things truly “light you up” and are likely the source of energy for what fuels your life.
What are you committed to? What are you pretending to be committed to that you aren’t really committed to?
August 29, 2012