“Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, the providence moves too. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way.” — W. H. Murray
verb (used with object)
1. to give in trust or charge; consign.
2. to consign for preservation: to commit ideas to writing;
3. to pledge (oneself) to a position on an issue or question; express (one’s intention, feeling, etc.):
4.to bind or obligate, as by pledge or assurance; pledge: to commit oneself to a promise; to be committed to a course of action.
5.to entrust, especially for safekeeping;
Commitment? What’s that?
If you want to see your life change, you’ve got to commit.
Important point: I define commitment as the decision to show up fully and consistently while seeing things to their logical or necessary conclusion.
We live in a society where it’s become easier than ever to wiggle out of things. It can get confusing to sort this out–you don’t want to adhere to the rigid notions of commitment that your grandparents might have stuck to, turning your life into a sea of joyless obligation, yet you also understand that when you quit on something before it’s time, you miss out.
Commitment is not “forever” unless that’s the life cycle of the thing you’re committing to. You get to set the terms, but part of setting the terms for when something should end means understanding that there are consequences–things you miss out on–when you walk away too soon. Part of commitment is accepting responsibility for the consequences.
Commitment is the decision to show up fully and consistently until it’s time to expire.
Your commitment to something is being practiced when you are basically, most of the time, more often than not, consistent in walking your talk.
And, of course, no one is perfect. Certainly, I’m not. But basically, most of the time, more often than not, I am consistent in practicing my commitments, whether it’s a relationship, my business, or personal growth.
Another way to describe commitment in action? You do not start stuff, not really show up fully, and then just stop.
A Few Examples
If you want the business to work:
Lackluster and inconsistent = not fully committed. There is no magic bullet out there for starting a business; you can stop buying more and more programs and workshops. Everything that I share in The Coaching Blueprint has been time and experience-tested as effective for myself and other coaches, but none of the business wisdom in that program would work if someone isn’t committed to applying it.
Note: commitment is a particularly important thing for coaches to address within themselves, because much of what you’ll be helping clients with is how they commit to themselves, the things that are important to them, to the people around them, to shifting internal belief systems that cause suffering, etc.
While no life coach is perfect, I do think that we need to be committed to walking our talk in our own lives.
Turning it around: Whatever marketing newsletters you’re subscribed to, actually make time to read them each week and apply what they share. Whatever programs you’ve already purchased, finish them. If you signed up for an e-course or group coaching workshop and didn’t listen to all the calls or complete all the exercises, go back and finish them. Create standards for completion before you take on anything new.
If you want your relationship to work:
Lackluster and inconsistent = not fully committed. There is, of course, another person involved in this, but speaking from personal experience, the greatest challenge of shifting a relationship is keeping the focus on my own crap and all the places where one moment of being triggered makes me want to completely backslide on any change I’ve promised to make.
Also–couples therapy? A must. I’ve read that most couples quit before they’ve had five sessions. Consider that you’re coming into the relationship with your entire history of patterns, and he/she is coming into the relationship with the same thing. Is it really reasonable to expect change in an intimate relationship in fewer than five couples counseling sessions? For most people, that’s five weeks. In other words, just barely over a month…to shift years of patterns created by two people.
Turning it around: Commit to shifting the relationship in a positive direction, rather than trying to change the person. Show up basically, most of the time, more often than not, more or less consistently with a true desire to change and put into practice any insight for change that comes your way.
If you want to make a personal-growth or self-help change–like getting more present, prioritizing what really matters most, not being so negative, attracting more friends?
Lackluster and inconsistent = not fully committed. Whatever program you’re on, commit all the way.
- If zen meditation is your deal, then commit all the way.
- If you can’t get enough of Eckhart Tolle, then commit to that path all of the way.
- If Danielle LaPorte’s Fire Starter Sessions was a revelation for you, then go back, re-read it twice, finish every last worksheet–commit all of the way.
- If you’ve resonated with everything I’ve ever said on this website, then there’s an entire program behind it (just be sure to commit all the way).
- If there’s a social justice activist whose work inspires you, commit all the way.
- If Jesus or The Buddha are your homeboys, if the diving feminine resonates all the way through your chakras, then commit all the way.
Again–commitment is not about perfectionism. Commitment might not even be about “forever.” You define what commitment “is.” The social justice activist might inspire you to commit all the way in helping her raise money for a political initiative–not necessarily joining her by getting your Master’s in Social Work. You need not lay down your life for Eckhart Tolle and build an ashram in his name–just commit to truly understanding the principles that he teaches and apply them in your own life (basically, consistently, most of the time, more often than not).
It is about saying to yourself: “For the duration of this program/for the next year/until I’ve explored this deeply and thoroughly, I’ll consistently show up and I will basically, most of the time, more often than not, put into practice the things that I learn.”
Commitment is courageous. It’s tough, but it’s your proudest shining moment when you look back and realize the journey you’ve traversed. If you want to know how to have all the success you’ve ever dreamed of, there’s one word: commit. That’s courage, in action.