Are you committed or just interested?
Recall a time when you were determined to accomplish something meaningful to you, and were willing to do whatever it took to make it happen; this may include your decision to attend massage school and enter the massage profession. That's an example of commitment.
A commitment is a personal promise you make with yourself. Keeping promises with others builds strong relationships. Keeping promises with yourself builds character and esteem. The dictionary defines commitment as "the state of being bound emotionally or intellectually to some course of action." That's the important part; the personal connection to what you will get when you fulfill your commitment.
We all know commitment is fundamental to effective execution and high performance, and yet many of us fall short of our commitments on a regular basis. It seems that when things get difficult, we find reasons to focus on other activities. Often, our interest wanes when things get tough. There is a difference between interest and commitment. When you're interested in doing something, you only do it when circumstances permit. But when you're committed to something, you accept no excuses, only results.
When we commit to something, we do things we would not ordinarily do. The question of if goes away and the only question is how. Commitment is powerful, and yet there are times when all of us struggle to commit. Here a four keys to successful commitment:
1. Strong desire. In order to fully commit to something, you will need a clear and personally compelling reason. Without a strong desire, you will struggle when implementation gets difficult. With that compelling desire, however, insurmountable obstacles are seen as challenges to be met.
2. Keystone action. Once you have an intense desire to accomplish something, you then need to identify the core actions that will produce the result you're after. In today's world, many of us have become spectators, rather than participants. We must remember it's what we do that counts.
In any endeavor, there are numerous activities to accomplish an effort. In most cases, there are a few core activities that account for the majority of results--and in some cases, there is one, maybe two, keystone actions that ultimately produce the result. It is critical you identify the one or two keystone and focus on them.
3. Count the costs. Commitments require sacrifice. In any effort, there are benefits and costs. Too often we claim we desire something without considering the costs. Costs are the hardships you will have to endure to accomplish your desire. Costs can include time, money, risk, uncertainty, loss of comfort, etc. Identifying costs allows you to consciously choose whether or not you are willing to pay that price. It is extremely helpful when you are in the middle of one of the costs to recognize you anticipated this and decided it was all worth it.
4. Act on commitments, not feelings. There will be times when you won't feel like doing critical activities. We've all been there. Getting out of bed at 5:30 a.m. to jog in the winter cold can be daunting, especially when you're in a toasty, warm bed. It is during these times you will need to learn to act on your commitments, not your feelings. If not, you will never build momentum and will be continually starting over, or as is so often the case, giving up. Learning to do the things you know you need to do, regardless of how you feel, is a core discipline for success.
Many times commitments are made more arduous by the time frame in which the commitment is made. It is difficult to commit to anything for a lifetime. Even keeping a promise for an entire year can be challenging. It is more feasible to establish and keep a commitment for 12 weeks than to keep it for 12 months. At the end of 12 weeks, reassess your commitments and begin again.
Our commitments ultimately shape our lives. They support strong careers, sound marriages, create lasting relationships, drive our results and they help build our character. Making and keeping commitments is a constructive process that is self-reinforcing and empowering.