Do you make commitments and then break them? Maybe you said yes. But I don't think you do break commitments. No, what you break is an agreement.
Agreements are those things you say you want to do or should do. You know we make them all the time. I agree we should connect and have dinner, but then you never do. You see, you made an agreement, but not a commitment.
A commitment should be treated as a binding contract with yourself. However, many of us break our commitments because we aren't really fully committed, we simply agree it is something we should do. We make agreements to people, banks, work, pets, ourselves.
A commitment is something that you have no doubts about. Something you give 100% of your whole self to. Something you will make happen even if there is some discomfort involved.
I agreed for several years I needed to lose some weight and get into better physical condition. But only in the last year did I make a commitment and stick to it and have successfully released 30lbs.
Commitment is a fulfilling endeavor that when followed through gives an immense sense of accomplishment. Think about something you have committed to, followed through with to the end, and how you felt at the end knowing you didn’t break it along the way. Weight loss, getting a formal education, going for the big contract and landing it.
Sometimes commitment can be confused with staying with something long after you should. Like a dead-end job or a loveless marriage. If you have any of this in your life, let’s look at it for a moment. Ask yourself why you are still in something that you have doubts about or don’t believe in or worse yet, that you give less than all of you to. People pick up on this subtle behavior. To stay committed to something, you have to put effort in and periodically change up what you are doing to keep it alive and fresh.
Commitments are what ground you and keep you active and engaged in life. Being free and having few commitments sounds so refreshing to many who have spouses, children, pets, jobs, mortgages… but for only a fleeting moment when life feels heavy and burdensome. We are social creatures who desire connections and relationships with others; a sense of accomplishment and pride in our contributions to making life better for everyone in our lives including ourselves.
When it comes to leadership commitments matter. Making sure you understand the difference in an agreement and a commitment is a good first step, but then transitioning to making sure you keep your commitments after you make them.
Sometimes we need help with our commitments, and we seek out this help through our friends, co-workers, spouses, coaches, mentors… By asking for help, we are strengthening our commitment to ourselves and others; we are fulfilling our obligations contractually with ourselves to follow through to the end, no matter what it takes.
People are watching us always. The road to hell is paved with good intentions. The path to high performance leadership is made easier with making and keeping our commitments to our self and others.