Would you like to experience being more powerful, having more control and being more confident in trusting your ability to create the future you envision?
I invite you to do the following exercise for a week, a month or even a lifetime.
Keep your promises!
If for any reason you must “break” a promise, renegotiate with whom you have promised to cause a win for the other party and yourself. Hence, no broken promise … it just got renegotiated in a fair manner.
“Promises are the uniquely human way of ordering the future, making it predictable and reliable to the extent that this is humanly possible.” ~Hannah Arendt
Let’s look at some possible simple ways one could neglect to keep a promise:
- “I’ll be there at 3 PM” and they show up at 3:10 PM.
- “I’ll call you tomorrow” and they don’t.
- They originate “Let’s get together” and fail to set a date for the invitation they extended.
- “I’ll email you the information” and they don’t.
- They represent in the conversation that they will send the e-mail right away and don’t. Two days later, after being reminded by the person to whom they promised, they send the e-mail.
- A friend asks for help, they say they will help and they don’t.
- They say, “I’ll call you right back” and they don’t.
- They say, “I’ll clean up the mess I made” and they don’t.
- They sell a customer on doing business with them and the customer has to chase them down to deliver on what they promised to deliver in the first place.
- They call you at the last minute to say they can’t make it and need to reschedule.
- They said they’d pick up milk, got home without it and said, “Oh, I forgot.”
- They promised to pay on the 1st and are currently 30 days late.
- They tell their 10 year old they’ll be at their football game. A friend invites them to be their guest for a round of golf and they ditch the football game for golf.
- You can imagine where I am going with this. What broken promises can you imagine?
The following are two characteristics negatively impacted by broken promises:
- The person breaking promises is causing the trust and confidence in their ability to create a future to diminish.
- The person at the receiving end of the broken promise is affected in a manner, even if slightly, that the trust and confidence is diminished in the person breaking the promise.
No one is perfect. Game changers happen. Emergencies happen. People become ill. It’s a part of life.
What I am talking about is the everyday, socially acceptable rhetoric perpetuating the diminishment of meaningful and trusted relationships, starting with your relationship with yourself.
There is always room to renegotiate in a manner that all parties win when a promise once made cannot be kept due to extenuating circumstances. The key factor here is win/win, which allows both people to be at cause in the relationship, hence a co-creation, rather than one person putting the other person at the effect because they are not following through on what they said they would do.
Of course, you can say, “I’m sorry!” Some people neglect to use the practice of apology and act as if it never happened. In some circles, “I’m sorry!” is an indication it will happen again. People are generous and extend forgiveness. There is still a speck of disappointment for both parties.
Be on the lookout for the person who will extract justice in a covert manner by getting back at you for breaking a promise or use it against you at a convenient time in the future.
Here’s how to know you made a promise, although you may not have said exactly, “I promise”.
- You said, “Yes” or “Okay” or “Alright” or “Will do” or some “Affirmative” to another.
- You said the same as above to yourself.
Observe the following during your experiment:
- Are you being true to your personal integrity when you make promises?
- How you feel when another delivers on what they promised?
- How you feel when another does not deliver on what they promised?
- How do you feel when you deliver on what you promised?
- How do you feel when you do not deliver on what you promised?
- What happened with the other person when you kept your promise? J
- What happened with the other person when you did not keep your promise? L
- Are you causing yourself to be happier or unhappier as a result of making promises?
The purpose of this experiment is for you to experience that you are at cause in creating a greater sense of power, control and confidence.
I recommend you keep it to yourself. Okay, if you really have to share it with others, please be mindful that there could be people in your life that will heckle you about doing this experiment.
Write down everything you said “Yes” to, so you can manage it in time, stay ahead of the game and have a productive and creative day, instead of keeping the promises in your head, “I’ll remember”, where you could forget because you’re so busy. Keeping promises in your head could promote being scattered.
In the face of having accountabilities that three people could not keep up with, I write down either in a day timer or “to do” list exactly what I have promised to manage it in time so that I can stay way ahead of the game of being at cause and serving the people in my life to be happier.
When you write down promises you can better manage your time because you will be looking at when you can do what you promised. Writing it down and managing it in time will also help you to be more clear headed because your “to do” list is not living in your head and you have more space to create.
The nature of the experiment is for you to expand your ability to have control over having confidence and trust in yourself, while at the same time causing others to have confidence and trust in you.
“The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and these are ignorance, superstition and incompetence.” ~ Elbert Hubbard
Please let me know what challenges you came up against and how this experiment served you!
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