I suspect some of you will get a little huffy when I ask this impertinent question: Do you keep your word?
“Of course I keep my word. Why would you even ask me such a question? Harrumph!”
Well, let’s see. I offer you the Keep Your Word Challenge: For one week, make an ongoing list of the things you say you will do, and keep track of how often you actually keep your word. Give your self a rating for each day based on the scale 1-5. The scale goes like this: 1(never), 2(a little), 3( sometimes ), 4 ( usually ) and 5( yes, 100%). After a week of measuring for your word keeping ability, average your rating. You may be surprised at how often you don’t keep your word.
This harmless little test about word keeping, and seeing where you fall flat, will be a game changer for you. It will allow you to see how you operate in the real world, as distinct from the world of your thoughts and imagination, and it will give you a good look at how other people perceive you.
Back before I caught on to the cost of not keeping my word, I overheard one of my neighbors talking—about me—and it was not pretty. “I like Susan a lot,” she said. “It’s too bad she’s such a flake. She never does what she says she will do.”
What!! I huffed around a bit; but after I calmed down I created the Keep Your Word Challenge for myself. I did it to prove my neighbor wrong, but of course it didn’t—she was right—my average for the week was 2.5.
I would like to tell you that I immediately began to keep my word, but I didn’t. I did however begin to retrain myself. When I was about to tell someone I would do something, more and more I would stop for a moment and ask myself, “Are you really going to do this? Really?” When I saw that probably I wasn’t, I began to say so, rather than saying yes, and then not doing it. I began to be dependable. People began to find they could count on me.
And those things I promised to do and didn’t? I made it a practice to go to the person involved and set things straight. “I said I would do this and I didn’t.” That cleans things up.
Of course I immediately turned it into a moral issue, which it is not, unless you want it to be. But to make keeping your word a moral issue saps it of much of its power and all of its joy. Next week we will go farther into that.
Simply keeping your word and communicating when you can’t can be a huge game changer for you and your success. I would love to hear from you about what you see about promise keeping.