“Unless commitment is made, there are only promises and hopes… but no plans.” 

— Peter Drucker

A commitment is the fire that sits in the center of accountability.

How many times have you made an agreement with yourself – to lose weight?  To get the work project done on time?  To spend one afternoon to yourself?  Only to see time come and go without the outcome you have declared.

How many times have you made an agreement with someone else – a date, a deadline, a deal – only to fail to deliver?

Broken hearts, broken trust, shame and guilt are all heaped onto an experience of an unfulfilled life.

Why do people fail to make the commitments necessary to achieve their desired outcomes?

  • fear or avoidance of accountability
  • fear of conflict
  • worry about what the other may think of you
  • Making commitments unconsciously without considering the implications
  • Not really understanding exactly what was agreed to

You use words like TRY, COULD, SHOULD, MAYBE, I WISH rather than I WILL.  It is the I WILL that creates the commitment.  It pushes past the spoken word.

“Commitment is an act, not a word.”

— Jean-Paul Sartre

surfing-2-freeimages - Pete Smith

A commitment is a voluntary, purpose-led, willful movement into action.  Commitment requires action.  Commitment creates momentum.

The commitment takes into account what matters most and answers the question, “Can I count on you?”.

Unmet commitments, large or small lead to stalled execution, broken trust, sluggish momentum, missed opportunities, poor financial results.  Add to that what we are teaching others who are watching us, counting on us – the impact is our loss of integrity.  The only way out is to move into action.

“The only limit to your impact is your imagination and commitment.”

— Tony Robbins

A commitment will be successful when you clearly understand the request and the purpose (or why).  You will be able to take action if you have or can obtain the necessary resources. Considering the other priorities in your life and business, you will be able to make a conscious choice. Finally, a thorough inside look at your habitual behavior around keeping commitments will help you develop a mental plan to address any commitment bad habits.

If you ever get stuck, here is a simple 5 step model to move back into action:

Accountability Model:

  • What will you do?
  • By when will you do it?
  • How will you know you are successful?
  • How will I know you are doing it?
  • How can we celebrate progress, milestones and outcomes?

In the 6-part Leadership Mastery Workshop Series, students participate in an exercise called Broken Agreements with Self.  Identifying three very important goals or desires, they then chronicle all of the ways they have broken commitments with themselves which blocked the outcome they so desired.  It’s an eye opener. The amazing thing about this is that the very next workshop (usually a month later) the majority of the participants come back celebrating the committed actions they took to get closer to their outcomes.

They moved from unconscious to conscious.  They took one small purposeful step which created momentum.

What game changer are you willing to commit to today to create a higher level of personal leadership?  Write it down and take one small action at a time and feel the growing momentum.

Be conscious of what you are committing to.  Your word, your integrity and your self-esteem are on the line.

Mary Pat Knight, CEO of Leaders Inspired, is a Transformation Strategist, Speaker, Facilitator, and Coach committed to leadership and emotional intelligence in the workplace. She is known for cutting through corporate drama to create laser focus for powerful business and personal results for her clients. 

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photo credit:  freeimages.com/PeteSmith