My mom used to say, “Never make a promise that you can’t keep.”
Which says a lot about honor and responsibility in relationships.
For a long time, I took that to mean “make only promises which I am absolutely sure I can keep, and if there’s any chance I might slip up or the world might prevent it, negotiate a lesser promise.”
So, I only made lame promises like:
“I promise to be there on time, so long as I remember to set my alarm, my car works, the traffic isn’t bad, and my best friend isn’t in the emergency room due to a freak ironing accident.”
“I promise to complete this project to 80% of the features, because time is tight and some of the work will probably be difficult and I don’t know how difficult yet.”
Or I refused to make promises at all.
Today, I’m changing my mindset.
Earlier this year, I was introduced to the concept of “Commitment Over Circumstance,” the idea that we take on challenge before we second-guess ourselves with things like logistics. The benefit of making the commitment before evaluating the circumstance is that it opens us up to do something we would not have thought possible. It allows us the think big, to find that risk can lead to reward, and to realize that we are more powerful than we give ourselves credit for.
Commitment doesn’t mean you don’t mess up.
Commitment means that when you mess up, you clean it up.
- Acknowledge your broken agreement to the people you’ve broken it with.
- Burrow into what happened to figure out what you valued over your commitment.
Did you value feeling comfortable in your bed for 30 more minutes? Did you value looking good to someone by not ending a conversation early so you could leave on time?
- Commit again.
And what happens if you fail?
Then you got to experience the passion, the intensity, the strength of the committed life. And you probably achieved a lot more than you otherwise would have.
When was the last time you committed to something bigger than you, and promised to do whatever it takes to succeed? When will the next time be?