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More on Commitments

Here are a few more thoughts on commitments after my last post:

  • You can renegotiate. Treat your promises like they are carved in stone. But there are times when things change, you can renegotiate the commitment and maintain integrity. If you agree to meet someone for lunch at 12:00, and you’re running late, don’t just show up late. Call and ask permission to arrive at 12:15. It may seem weird to ask permission for something that is going to happen anyway, but when you say you’re going to do something, the other person has the right to expect that you’ll do it. They have that power over you, so acknowledge that reality and renegotiate. Or let’s say you commit to run for half an hour every morning in an effort to get in better shape. After doing it faithfully for a month, you develop a knee problem, or just discover that you hate running. The goal was to improve your health, so renegotiate. Go swimming instead. Or take up judo. Just be sure not to use this as a way out of the commitment. This is a danger of renegotiating commitments with yourself. If you “renegotiate” running every morning to walking the dog once a week, you really haven’t maintained integrity with your original commitment. So listen to your conscience.
  • Be judicious in making commitments. If you start take commitments seriously, you’ll naturally start to hesitate to actually commit yourself to do something. Don’t promise more than you can deliver, or else you’ll either break the commitment or end up with your world in chaos as you attempt to move heaven and earth in order to keep a promise you never should have made. On the other hand, don’t be overly cautious. People perceive that as being weasley and disconnected.
  • People will notice. Maybe not at first, especially in relationships where there is a lot of precedence of broken and ligtly-made commitments. But over time, people will start to notice that you keep your commitments. On the other hand, if you break promises, people tend to notice that much more quickly.
  • Don’t be “that guy.” In the same vein, don’t be the flaky guy that nobody can rely on. We all know someone like this (probably multiple people). I have an ex-business partner who now has a reputation of not honoring his word, particularly in his business dealings. People who have worked with him and invested money with him in the past have pretty much completely cut him out of their lives because of promises he broke. The sad part is that I don’t think he’s even aware of the opportunities that are closed to him because of this deficiency in his character. I’m just grateful I ended my relationship with him when it did. I still hear stories from people in our industry about how they’ll never do business with him again. Don’t be that guy. Be the polar opposite. Be the one who people know they can trust implicitly because you honor your word, period.
  • Commitments are for when times get tough. People tend to want out of commitments when circumstances change to make the fullfilling of their promise more difficult. But that’s what a commitment is. We generally don’t need to promise to do things that are easy and to our own advantage. It’s when they are hard and costly that we need to be kept in check by our honor.

Against all odds, I appear to have some people who are reading my blog. I’d like to invite you to comment and share your thoughts on this and my other posts. Even if it’s just to say, “I can’t believe I actually clicked on this link. I want the last five minutes of my life back.”

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