To this day, after 53 years of life, I still make pinky promises. Yes, I’m talking about the ones you used to make in elementary school. While I may only make these with my son, my friends, my family I am fond of them. They symbolize a promise that cannot be broken. Are there any other kinds of promises? (Politicians aside).
As an adult, ahem, we use different words for promises. Words like, “I do”, contracts, guarantees, pledges, vows, assurance, swear and more. We shake hands. We toast glasses and look into each others eyes. We voraciously read books like the 4 agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz that speak of the Toltec tradition and the importance of one’s words.
Speak with integrity.
Say only what you mean.
Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others.
Don Miguel Ruiz– The Four Agreements
Say What You Mean and Do What you Say
It’s pretty simple. If you say you are going to do something – do it. Don’t say you will knowing you won’t or knowing you may not be able to. Your “word” is important. It really is all we have. Consider how you feel when you don’t do what you say you would.
- Do you feel guilt?
- Do you feel shame?
- Do you fall into further self-sabotage/stagnancy?
I have been there. We all have. And it doesn’t feel great. There were trade shows where there were too many leads to follow up on. There were times an emergency came up and had to work on the emergency instead of calling the client. It’s what you do when these events surface. They are opportunities to do things better, to improve your process, to improve yourself. For us, the greatest realization was that courage is what you need most in these times. It’s the courage that helps you confront the situation and your weak points and make changes. These changes typically result in actions.
Transforming Emotions into Action
So that emotion of shame, or embarrassment – what is the best way to deal with that? Bring it on we say. Face it directly, be gentle with yourself then kick yourself in the pants and do what’s gotta be done.
- Call that client you forgot to ring back
- Apologize for your delays and explain what you are doing so they don’t happen again
- Give incentives to those you have let down, especially yourself to try again
- Drop self-judgement at the door and be kinder and more understanding
- Share your leads with others if you can’t handle them all
- Reward yourself and your team when you push through procrastination and resistance and get it done!
So what can you do to commit to your word? What are you willing to do, who are you willing to be? Sometimes I am up to 4 am on a project if I promised a delivery and does it ever feel great? Pushing through those hurdles and boundaries, nothing feels better to a true entrepreneur. Pinky promises, bring them on.