Have you ever committed to doing something and then later thought “what was I thinking?” I found myself in this position over a week ago. Things have been a bit hectic in my life the last few months and I haven’t been as diligent about writing things down as I usually am. When I received an email reminding me about the submission deadline for an online magazine that I had committed to writing to, my first reaction was “when did I say I would do that? 😮
To make things even more interesting, there were four categories of articles that the magazine was looking for. Of course, when I looked at the list, I thought to myself – “geez, I could easily write something for all four categories”. I guess I know myself a little too well. When I asked for confirmation of what I had committed to writing about, my contact confirmed I had said all four… :s
While she did give me the opportunity to change my mind about my level of commitment, I decided to do what I said I would and told her I would submit the four articles before the submission deadline. If I really thought I wouldn’t be able to do it, I would have said so. I don’t believe in staying committed to a task if I know that I won’t be able to do it to my best ability. Thankfully I know a bit about working under pressure and submitted my articles with (a little bit of) time to spare. 🙂
Whether it’s business or personal, I think it’s important to do what we say we’re going to do. We all know people who can talk a good game, and do very little in the action department. We also know what we think of those people. I’m not talking about passing judgement, but if you have something important to do, who are you going to for help, those who just talk, or those who back up their words with action?
I believe that the commitments we make are promises to ourselves. If we can’t keep a promise to ourselves, then who will we keep a promise to? Personally, I want the people in my life to trust that I will do the things I say I’m going to do. Of course there are always going to be times where things happen that are out of our control that makes it difficult to stay true to our commitments. When I can’t follow through for some reason, I want that to be the exception, not the norm.
Being impeccable with our word is one of the keys to a peaceful life identified by Don Miguel Ruiz in his book The Four Agreements. For him, this means: Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.
Let’s be honest, no one feels good when we don’t keep our word. The next time you’re about to make a commitment to someone, ask yourself the following question: Is this something I can truly do, or am I saying this just to make the other person happy? If you’re honest with yourself, you’ll know whether you should be making that promise or not. Trust me, it’s better to say no now than to be in a position to have to say sorry later. ♥