Are you committed? Part II
B. Keith Chapman, President & CEO
Last month, we focused on defining commitment and understanding the value of the journey. This month, let’s focus on our level of commitment. How many times have you committed to doing something and did not follow through? Did you have an excuse? Did you commit too early? Did you fully understand the commitment? There are copious reasons why we throw in the towel and fall short of a commitment. Maybe the issue is that we don’t fully understand the responsibility associated with the commitment, or we commit before we fully weigh the investment.
Abraham Lincoln said, “Commitment is what transforms a promise into reality.” A promise is nothing more than a commitment to action; however, the commitment to action often lasts longer and takes more effort than we initially think. Since we do not have the ability to predict the future with 100% accuracy or know the challenges ahead, there is always a risk of reaching a point when our commitment waivers. Once our commitment is shaken, it is natural for us to start contemplating all the reasons why we should not continue and look for ways to make life easier. This is at the very point that our level of commitment is defined. The most successful people in life figure out a way to keep their commitment, and in doing so they win the support and respect of those around them.
When you accept a job, position, or project you are inherently promising to contribute at a level that will produce success. People and organizations do not offer these opportunities thinking that you will accept the role at the lowest level of commitment. In fact, organizations go to great lengths to identify those who have the highest level of commitment regardless of the challenges. When your commitment waivers, so does your reputation as an employee, member or player. Ecclesiastes 5:5 says, “It is better to say nothing than to make a promise and not keep it.” This is a simple passage that reinforces the importance of following through with a promise.
Leadership experts and scholars have long identified varying levels of commitment. Some say there are as few as three, others say there are many more. In Matthew Chapter 5, the verse explains that a simple “yes, I will or no, I won’t” is the best approach. If we apply the principles in Ecclesiastes and Matthew, there is really only one level of commitment. This level of course is the highest level that drives success, establishes trust and builds relationships. A wise approach to commitment is to weigh the cost, time and effort required to experience success and “say nothing,” meaning don’t commit unless you are ready to commit at the highest level. Committing at the highest level will help ensure you are successful in your efforts, press through when challenges arise, and stay motivated.
Challenge: Evaluate an opportunity prior to making the commitment. Only commit at the highest level, otherwise “stay silent.” Understand that all commitments will likely come with some unexpected challenges and remember your response to commitment molds your character and reputation.
Published: May 2018