Commitment: Its Purpose and Power
Posted by Todd Smith
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Think of at least one major accomplishment in your life that has really made you proud of yourself. Now, think of the initial commitment you made when you got started. On a scale of 1-10, how committed were you? Were you very committed or simply desiring something? There’s a vast difference between the two. When you simply desire something, you do it only when circumstances permit. When you’re committed, you accept no excuses, only results.
A commitment is a binding pledge that obligates you to assume a position or carry out a course of action. Making a commitment to what you do—whether in your personal life or your professional life—is one of the most fundamental principles of success.
Commitments are Serious Business
Commitments are powerful because they influence how you think, how you sound, and how you act. Unlike a half-hearted hope or ‘best shot,’ making a commitment means that you try harder, you look for solutions when faced with obstacles, you don’t consider quitting as an option, and you don’t look back.
In addition, a meaningful commitment gives you a script for how to handle things when times get tough. And make no mistake, everyone feels like quitting at one time or another. Unfortunately most people quit when they feel like quitting, which is why they seldom succeed at anything.
After working with thousands of aspiring entrepreneurs over my career, I’ve learned that one of the most distinguishing characteristics of success is the perseverance of commitment.
Whether it’s a relationship or marriage, job or career venture, fitness or health, or a personal improvement goal, the temptation to give up will arise. The key is to anticipate it and make yourself a promise that the feeling of wanting to quit will not overpower your commitment.
To Whom and What Are You Committed?
One of the keys to fulfilling your commitments is to not over commit. The number of opportunities and decisions we’re faced with on a daily basis increases all the time. This is why it’s so important to be selective about what and who you commit to. Given the limits of your time and attention, it’s simply not feasible to do everything you would like. Therefore, you must decide what is truly important to you and commit only to those things.
When you only commit to the people and things that are truly important to you, your relationships will improve, you will be more successful in achieving your goals, and you’ll have more time to enjoy your journey.
Once you decide to whom and what you are committed, it’s imperative that you follow through. When I think of the importance of following through, I’m reminded of the motivational advice of Zig Ziglar:
“It was character that got us out of bed, commitment that moved us into action, and discipline that enabled us to follow through.”
There are times when you may think that the challenges of fulfilling your commitments aren’t worth the hassle, or the effort required is more than you’re willing to expend. Remember, however, just like anything worth pursuing, commitments require discipline and often require you to act outside of your comfort zone. Be willing to stand up to the challenges you face by keeping things like your integrity and reputation in mind.
Evaluate Your Commitments
We must also recognize that often time commitments have limitations. There is a difference between making excuses for not honoring a commitment you’ve made and knowing that something just isn’t working, despite your best efforts. Making a call in the thick of things that your commitment isn’t really that important after all may be true (in some cases), but it may just be a cop out. Perhaps, a sudden shift in priorities could be a signal that it’s time to call it quits, or it could be that your resolve is slipping and you need to reinforce it.
So how can you tell the difference? I discussed this very subject in a previous lesson, When Quitting is the Best Decision You Can Make.
What are you committed to achieving? If it is not working, why is it not working? Can you look in the mirror and honestly tell yourself that you have given it your ALL? How hard and how long have you been working at it? Did you set your expectations too high? You must identify specific reasons why something is not working.
If you’re honest with yourself and agree that you are giving your best efforts and you still aren’t making measurable progress, then it may be time to re-evaluate your strategy. If this is where you find yourself today, then I encourage you to read the above referenced lesson.
Identify Your Commitments
Are you able to list the important people and things in your life that you are sincerely committed to? If you can’t, I challenge you to make this list. If you can, take some time to reflect on how you are doing at upholding those commitments. Is it time to renew your determination?
The only way you will enjoy a long-term relationship with someone is if you are committed to that relationship. The only way you will enjoy a successful career is if you are committed to it. The only way you will enjoy life’s journey is if you are committed to making the best of it and living life to its fullest.
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