We’ve all heard that “a person is only as good as their word.” Simply, it is our ability to keep the promises we make that really counts. This simple, yet sometimes difficult practice of “being our word”, defines who we are. Our own personal brand. I once thought I was very good at being my word. At work, I was considered reliable and always got the job done, on time. A ‘go-to’ guy. Yet, my former wife would have said I was totally unreliable. I would often promise to be home by 7pm and arrive home by 8pm without even bothering to call to say I’d be late. To her, I was unreliable, disrespectful, uncaring and unloving.
Keeping my word maintains my power
Not being my word diminished my power in her eyes. My actions created myself small and unreliable. Eventually, she had enough, packed her bags and left with my two small children. This was my watershed moment. A EUREKA MOMENT! I was left searching for answers and for ways to increase my performance. I discovered that I automatically filtered my promises in my mind. If I considered it important, I delivered, on time. Yet, if I deemed it not so important I would often fail to deliver on time, if at all.
Keeping all promises is all important
I realise now that it’s all-important. I am not free to pick and choose which promises I will or won’t keep. This is the path I chose for myself. To be a man of my word, to have integrity. I’ve found this way of being just works for me. Commit to doing something and make it work, simply because I choose to. Plan. Put structures in place to ensure I finish my report a day early; to make that phone call on time; to arrive 5 min early or close the meeting on time. In doing so, I demonstrate respect to other parties and, importantly, I do not diminish myself with them. I keep my brand strong and powerful.
Lack of integrity is killing business
About three years ago, I was between jobs and worked as a landscape gardener for a few months. On several occasions my co-workers and I, waited for hours for soil or a skip bin to be delivered. Some days we were sent home without even lifting a shovel, not once! In these moments, I saw first-hand how “a lack of integrity kills business.” Failing to deliver that costs clients’ money, will have them think again before returning to a business that fails them. Poor service is poor branding.
The question is are you willing to look honestly and see where you can improve “being your word?” No doubt we’ll find many ways we let ourselves down. We have the power to choose differently. Strong businesses and powerful teams are comprised of responsible people committed to being their word. Powerful people deliver on time, because they can and choose to. No excuses! Will you choose this for yourself?
In the sage words of Don Miguel Ruiz, author of The Four Agreements, “Be impeccable with your word and say only what you mean.” In doing so we create a powerful life.