It’s likely we’ve all encountered people in our lives who don’t do what they say they will. They break plans. They extend deadlines. They disappoint. Usually, the first time they “flake” on an appointment or promise, leniency is granted. Why not? They’re only human! But when they do it time and time again, their credibility is lost and we come to view them as untrustworthy and unreliable. It can be especially devastating when the person who disappoints us has great potential and chooses not to live up to it. What a shame.
If other people can disappoint and hurt us with broken promises, just imagine the damage we are doing when we make appointments with ourselves and don’t show up. Have you ever done this? Think about it. Have you said, “On Monday morning I will begin my diet,” “After this deadline is over, I’ll spend more time with my family,” “Once I’ve settled into my new position, then I’ll carve out the time to improve my leadership”? But when the time arrives, the time to change, the time to spring into action, you don’t keep your promise to yourself? This discrepancy between what we tell ourselves and what we deliver is all too common. But as leaders it’s crucial to make the commitment to change.
The reason we so often see this failure to follow through is that in the space between our best intentions and our actions lies the most vital element: the depth of our commitment. The greater the task, the more intense that commitment must be.
So what’s the secret to making a profound commitment to your own growth? You have to want it badly enough. Remember what it was like as a child to really, really want something – think back on how tireless and persistent you could be. You would do any tedious chore thrown your way and you would nag and pester your parents relentlessly until they gave in. When it comes to leadership, what do you desire with that same level of intensity? Maybe it’s a promotion. Maybe you dream of surpassing a near-impossible target for your team. Or maybe you just want to be more efficient so you can get home to your family faster. Whatever it is, focus on it. Use it as your inspiration to keep your promise of change and improvement to yourself.
Don’t wait until a make-or-break moment where you are forced to change by circumstances. Get ahead of circumstance. Leaders who want to be influential don’t wait for the right time. Waiting is passive. Great leaders are pro-active. They work at getting better. They show up for themselves because they are committed to mastery and driven by an inner vision of what they might achieve.
So, remember what type of leader you aim to be. Do you want to be a leader who waits around for events to become dire enough to spark a change? Or do you want to be the dedicated leader who actively strives for excellence, who shows up for themselves, and is committed to change? If you seek to be the dedicated leader – focus on what you want badly enough and follow through.
Written by ConantLeadership Contributor: Amy Federman
We want to hear from you: Have you ever broken a promise to yourself? What are the ways you focus on keeping yourself committed?