What does commitment really mean to you? It seems an obvious question but it means different things to different people, and features heavily in our lives.
To some people commitment is significant and means everything. If they ask someone to do something and they do not follow through on it, they will become angry and say something like “But you made a commitment”. To other people, it won’t mean as much so our sense of what commitment really means varies a lot.
Personally, I have always had a mantra, particularly in business, that if you say you are going to do something you do it. Someone else may not feel anywhere as strongly, they might say “Well, I’ll see whatever else might crop up and let you know if I can do it.” That doesn’t mean I’m right and they are wrong, it’s just different views on the world.
Bear in mind, there are differing levels of commitment depending on what we’re dealing with as well. I think most of us would agree that committing to marry someone is a bit different to saying that you’ll meet a friend for a drink, and then pulling out for instance!
So far we’ve only talked about our commitment to others but of course, there are also the commitments we make to ourselves. Research shows us that, out of all the commitments that are made, these are the ones that are broken most often. Why should that be, after all, these are commitments that are made specifically for our own personal progression or fulfillment.
It’s because the personal ones are easier to break, no one else knows right? Who’s going to know if I didn’t go to the gym today? Who’s going to know if I said to myself I’m not going to drink alcohol this week? These are short term commitments that tend to come and go in our lives but there are often longer term ones that go left entirely unfulfilled. These are the ones that fit into the “Oh, I always wanted to do that!” category.
Included in this category is everything from climbing Mount Kilimanjaro through to, sailing the world, through to starting your own business, you’ll know what your personal ones are. The first thing to do is split your desires from your commitments because they can become confused, in your mind. What I mean by that is by mentally saying, I want to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, is completely different to saying to yourself, I’m going to climb Mount Kilimanjaro and will stimulate a different reaction in your brain. Write down your two lists, and put your desires to one side for now and focus on your commitments.
Next, tell everyone you care about that it’s going to happen. I have written in a previous post about acting ‘As If’ and it’s a similar principle. If you are committing to it mentally and you tell everyone else that it’s happening, it’s so much more likely to.
Now, that may feel very daunting, after all, what happens if you don’t achieve it, that’s a failure, right? The answer to that is no, it’s only a failure if you make it so in your head, it definitely doesn’t mean you’ve failed. If it’s starting your own business and it doesn’t work out the first time, you will have learnt something for the next time.
The myth about being an entrepreneur is that it always works first time, it simply does not, they fail, usually numerous times. What differentiates them from other business people is their commitment. As Tony Robbins said “Life’s greatest rewards are reserved for those who demonstrate a never-ending commitment to act until they achieve”, you can see the full quote here. In addition to that, Les Brown said, honour your commitments with integrity.
So, why not just take the first step and make yourself a commitment.