Thursday, May 14, 2009

Meaning My Commitment

Just as people can bolster me and support me in keeping my commitments, they can also provide excuses and justifications for lessening my commitments. Sometimes even the words of those who are poised to motivate and lead can ring hollow when they do not fully believe in what they are saying.

I had this experience recently. I sat in a room full of people who committed to a common goal with purpose and intention. Then, over the course of the following week, as I engaged in one-on-one conversations with several people who had been in that room, I heard an entirely different set of expectations. Some of the people who affirmed that common goal really didn't believe in it fully.

Part of the challenge is that believing in something, really taking a commitment seriously, might mean risking. A commitment brings with it responsibility; it isn't just a hope or a wish. It isn't just putting the right energy out into the universe and believing. A commitment means a willingness to act in a way that will contribute toward the desired outcome, to the best of one's ability.

So my dilemma was whether to follow what I saw as a growing crowd and reduce my commitment to a more "realistic" or "reasonable" goal, or whether to maintain my commitment in spite of some wavering voices. And more important than my decision regarding my commitment, how would I hold myself and others? Would I be a failure if I lowered my expectations? Had others betrayed me somehow? Were they failures? Was I being naive or belligerent by holding on to a goal in which others obviously did not believe?

Ultimately, I decided to hold fast to the commitment I made, to still believe in the possibility of our group attaining the goal we had set together. Some other people chose a different course. They are allowed to do that. They are human beings with unique perspectives and insights, and I believe that they are making the best decisions they can for themselves. Neither of us has to be wrong. My decision may cost me a little of my own money, but I'm alright with that. My integrity will benefit in my future commitments if I keep my word and maintain my vision, even if that vision seems at times to be just a bit out of reach. Otherwise, I take the meaning away from my word, and I could start making promises to myself I never intend to keep.


  1. When I read over this after the fact, it seems a little black and white. I think there is often room for negotiating with myself when I miss the mark or when it becomes obvious that I have set my objectives unrealistically. If renegotiating becomes the norm, however, I still believe my word would carry less weight.

    And when I group is involved in making a commitment, I do believe the group should articulate within its membership when there is renegotiaton going on. This has a greater potential of maintaining a healthy and realistic goal and keeping everyone targeted toward the same objective.

  2. Personal perspectives are something that adapt and change. I think if you are willing to back your idea with your own funds, then you must believe in what you are trying to accomplish. If it works out, it works out, if not - try another approach next time.

    Its all about the learning.

    I like your blog. DRL