How to Keep a Commitment No Matter What You’re Up Against

Years ago, I traveled to a somewhat remote location to attend my company’s annual sales and marketing launch meeting. We were at least four hours from any major airport, and much of the conversation on arrival was about what a pain in the neck it had been to get there.

The Sales VP was aware of the narrative that was circulating about the meeting, and he chose to open the first session with a video about Bill Porter, a door-to-door salesman who was born with cerebral palsy.

It’s worth watching the whole video, but if you’re short on time, start at 1:50 and watch through 5:30. At the end of the video, when there was barely a dry eye in the house, the VP turned to us and said “Now, did you have trouble getting here today?”

Most of my clients have big commitments for 2018 — they’re launching new businesses, or leading teams to reinvent a particular line of business. Each has gained momentum by noticing what story they’re telling themselves and others: Is it focused on the commitment, or is it focused on what might get in the way?

Anything worth your while is going to be a messy mix of the blissful and the triumphant, alongside the unexpected, the inconvenient, and the downright exasperating. Maybe you have limited funds; maybe your team is scared to try something new; maybe you have no experience with half the things that lie on the road to fulfilling your commitment. If you identify with what’s wrong and what might not work, you’ll probably end up talking yourself out of your commitment before you’ve gotten a few steps out of the gate.

Powerful people choose a commitment that matters to them, and they stay focused on it. They find ways to keep engaging themselves in their commitment so that they have the energy and will to keep moving forward. This could include:

  • Visuals, artwork, or words that inspire
  • Physical movement that engages your core strength
  • Taking the time to quiet yourself, connect with your heart, and set a daily intention (try What Matters Now)
  • A practice of daily gratitude for what has gone well
  • Cultivating supportive relationships so that you have people who can remind you of who you are and what you’re committed to when you forget (which we all do from time to time)

As Bill Porter said “My mother told me I could do what I set out to do.” And guess what? He could.

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