I'm enjoying a little R&R this week, so, in an effort to continue the uninterrupted flow of my weekly blog posts since October, and still take a break and enjoy vacation, I've decided to publish a slightly different type of post this week.
I often emphasize that, while acquiring knowledge and skill and developing functional expertise may be enough to produce certain desired results, effective leadership goes well beyond knowing things and being able to do things. Being and showing up as an effective leader comprises a process of cultivating a series of realizations and personal choices in response to those realizations, the culmination of which produces much more profound impacts that any mere knowledge or skill ever could. That is precisely why most of my teaching and writing and speaking on the topic of leadership has to do with generating the right conversations and thought processes, ones out of which moments of truth are able to arise. It is in these moments of truth, when the reader, listener, or workshop participant makes a personal choice to truly commit to a cause and stay the course no matter what, that transformation begins in earnest.
I have personally seen this power of the human spirit, and witnessed the extraordinary results and experiences produced when we truly give ourselves over to a cause that is bigger than we are. I have seen the proverbial light bulb go off for people countless times and, let me tell you, I am hooked on the kind messages I receive from people from all walks of life sharing their victory stories with me. These stories range from major turnarounds in results at work to restoring a broken relationship with close family members, from pursuing a lifelong dream that had been put on hold long ago to just experiencing peace and enjoying life without regretting the past or worrying about the future. Despite this wide range, there is something that all these stories have in common; the thread that binds them all together is that they were all made possible by making the choice to be 100% committed to an outcome and refusing to give up on it. One such testimony was shared with me just a few weeks ago.
I was made aware of one of the participants of a half-day workshop that I had conducted about 2.5 months earlier had made the decision, coming out of the workshop, to get serious about his fitness. He had actually already lost 31 lbs. between then and when I was informed, and he was aiming for 19 more to hit his goal. When I inquired as to what caused this transformation, I was only a little surprised when he attributed this victory over the past entirely to tenaciously honoring his commitment as a direct result of the realizations that he had in the workshop. I was also thrilled to hear that he was also applying the same principles to his graduate work that had been on hold for a while, and was also making progress in that area.
I know that this kind of experience invariably comes about when a person chooses to seek it out, and it always starts with the person having a realization and making a choice in response to that realization. If we choose the courage to admit to ourselves and others that we have been pretending to be 100% committed to a cause—be it personal or professional—when in fact we have only partially or conditionally committed, we open the door to transforming our lives from the ground up.
This post is intended to encourage you to take inventory of the things you say you are committed to and evaluate whether your commitment are 100%, or partial, or conditional.
The Homework (should you choose to take it on):
Make a list of everything you are committed to. This could be an exhaustive list including items of varying value or scope. Examples: Finishing my degree, my fitness, finding the right mate, completing project X by a certain deadline, saving up to buy a certain car, improving my relationship with my significant other,...
Identify the commitment where you have managed to stay on track to fulfill, despite challenges, and take a moment to acknowledge yourself for your determination. There are likely the ones that you are 100% committed to.
Identify one unfulfilled commitment that has the potential to make a difference in your results or fulfillment, but has been causing you frustration. This is likely one that you are partially or conditionally committed to.
Make a decision to:
Declare that you are not committed to the item you identified in step 3 and be straight and communicate your lack of commitment to the appropriate stakeholders and accept the consequences.
Renew your commitment to 100% and ask yourself the questions below and act on the answers:
What outcome am I committed to?
What is the most immediate next step I should take to make the desired outcome happen?
Repeat steps 3 and 4 until you have sorted through all of the commitments that are causing you frustration.
I sincerely hope that you take the time to go through this process. I realize that it sounds too simple to work but that's because we are accustomed to complicating matters for ourselves and avoiding this type of honest evaluation. It is much easier to focus on all external barriers that have been impeding our progress, but in the end it all comes down to a personal choice of whether to commit or not. Even if you don't have much faith that this simple process will work for you, I encourage you to take it for a test drive and see what realizations show up. Enlist the help of a coach along the way if necessary and, by all means, let me know how it is going for you or if you have any questions or comments. I look forward to hearing about your challenges and victories.
Have a great week! May you Boldly Declare, Courageously Pursue, and Abundantly Achieve the Extraordinary! As always, I would love to hear about your victories and/or challenges. Please leave your comments below or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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