We make promises to everyone.
“I promise I’ll get that over to you by the end of the day.”
“Yes, I promise I will pick you up in time for dance!”
“I promise you, we will make it happen, you will get this sale, I will coach you through it, and if you can’t get it to happen I will stay all night until it goes through. Trust me.”
And of course people make promises to us as well.
“Yeah, I promise the job will be done by the end of the week, you can count on me.”
“I promised I’d call you for next year’s event, we loved having you last year!”
And then my favorite,
“No Dad! I promise! I swear I didn’t do it!”
But these are all EXTERNAL Promises.
What about that ONE promise of the INTERNAL nature?
What is The Promise to The One?
The One is the last person you probably thought of. Most assume it’s The Customer or Client (which is actually The Audience), others think it must be to the one on your Team at work, or maybe the ones we love the most, such as a partner, spouse, or child (which is actually The Family).
So in that case, who is left?
Question is: Who do you break promises to the most?
The One is You.
The amazing, incredible, wonderful YOU.
How are you able to keep so many goals for your company, your clients, those deadlines! AND keep commitments with family, friends, in the community, and balance it all?
Because you keep breaking The Promise to YOURSELF.
What are the promises you have broken to yourself lately?
Example: It is now October. What New Year’s Resolutions did you set at the beginning of the year?
Not trying to make you feel bad here, but that is just one list of broken promises to ourselves.
We all do it. I’m the most guilty of all, and for this reason I took what I initially thought The One was (my spouse) and recreated this principle to be all about me. Which means it’s all about YOU. Us.
For New Years I set the same type of goals I do every year:
Lose 30 lbs for my big National Speakers Association Keynote in July
Hike to the summit of a bunch of mountains in Utah.
So I set about the goals.
By June, it was Father’s Day actually, I had lost a whopping….wait for it (weight for it)….
Yep! The Motivational Speaker guy lost a whole 7 lbs.
I worked out constantly, I ate clean and well, I traveled a ton, so that was my real good excuse, but there was NO WAY I was fitting in my custom handmade suits I hadn’t fit in in over 2 years. DANG!
I had 35 days left until my “due date” to fit in these suits, to keep my commitment and reach my goal, my resolution.
But guess what?
Resolutions aren’t strong enough. We laugh about them by February as we compare notes with our friends over milkshakes how our resolutions from the New Year are long gone 45 days in. Hahahahahah. Silly me, silly us! “More fries please!” (sadly, I realized too late I did this one day, immediately following a training session at the gym….hmmmm?)
Even the goal, the word commitment wasn’t powerful enough for me. You can always reset a goal, you can commit to be amazing and not be and your effort was commendable.
But it was mid-June when I said:
“Enough is enough. Who am I kidding? I’m a liar! To myself! I’ve broken every promise to ME this year!”
And that’s when I decided to make a few Promises, which are unbreakable. In other words, Why set a Goal when you can Make a Promise?
So this is what I did, I promised myself to:
- Not eat any more bad carbs until my big speech (35 days)
- Not eat any more sugar
- Do the Stairclimber or cardio for 1 hour daily no exceptions (Sundays off)
- Workout with weights daily for 1 hour, no exceptions (Sundays off)
When I made those promises to myself, and looked in the mirror like a goofy motivational speaker tells you to: “I’m smart enough, I’m good enough, and gee, people like me!” But somehow, someway, this whole plan worked.
I had made a Promise to The One: To Me. And I kept that promise.
So as my family sat down to a table of naughty food I knew I had made a promise not to eat it, and I figured out a better solution for me.
When friends offered me a reason to celebrate, which I found out there is a reason to justify celebrating something every day of the week with dessert, such as:
- Hey! It’s Monday Night Football – desserts all around!
- Hey! It’s Tuesday and we baked cookies for the neighbors – oops, I ate the whole plate!
- Hey! It’s Wednesday – Hump Day Celebration!
- Hey! It’s Thursday and I just had an incredible speech – let’s go into a sugar coma at Baskin Robbins!
- Hey! It’s Friday date night – let’s eat everything on this menu!
- Hey! It’s Saturday time to celebrate it not being Monday yet!
- Hey! It’s Sunday, a day of rest….I need some pancakes covered in sugary maple syrup to make it through another day of rest!
I mean truly, you can celebrate with desserts every day of life. Like – Hey! We made it through this day of work! Yay. Who wants to meet up at Chuck E. Cheese?
But once I made the promises to ME that I no longer eat bad carbs, or sugar, then I just didn’t do it anymore. It was the one thing I had control over. It was my choice, for me.
And each night as I lay down to slumber I would begin brushing my teeth and think, “Wait a minute, did I work-out today? Oh Man!”
And downstairs to the treadmill and weight room I’d go.
It was my promise to myself.
(Long story short (too late!): I lost 23 lbs in just over a month. I was accountable to me and my promise. I fit in that suit and looked delicious. Was it hard, you ask? Heck yes! Was it worth it? Mightily Yes. Right now, this very moment, 4 months removed from that deadline, I maintain where I was, and I feel and look better than I ever have. I just keep keeping promises to myself and I feel really good about that. I know you will feel the same.)
Keeping a promise is not that hard. It actually is a human need and response. We expect others to be on the conference call when they say they will, to pick us up at the airport when the time was confirmed, to help us with a project even late into the night because both of our jobs are depending on it. Religious convictions are upheld by promises to a belief system, marriages are a promise to one person we engage in at the highest level of honor, and promises of ethics, choice, concern for others, humanity, all come out of The Promise that affects many in the long run.
But keeping a promise to myself – this is game-changing.
Assessing how many mountain summits I had reached as of this writing (mid October), I have made it to the top of only 3 this year, two of which are barely summits in most books, and one that is quite significant for me, Mt. Timpanogos for my 6th time in my life, pretty awesome. I set about the year assuming I’d hit about 20 peaks. Made 3 and now the weather is turning, so the window is closing. But I had to really focus on The Promise I made to ME in order to even do those three. I’ve never hiked and felt, “Gee, wish I wasn’t doing this today.” Just isn’t a thought when you keep promises to yourself.
I know you’ve done this kind of thing for yourself. When you want something bad enough, passionately, so driven you feel fire in your own heart, that’s when you keep a promise.
Just like you keep a promise when you wake up each morning and hit that alarm clock, dragging yourself from the bed. You Keep Promises.
Or when you promise to take that walk around the office building during lunch instead of watching the TV while the lasagna settles into your shirt. You Keep Promises.
You keep the promise to yourself when you are the person you proclaim you are to the world but no one is watching so maybe it doesn’t matter if you sneak this or do that….but you have deep integrity, love for the person you are, respect for yourself, and so you do the right thing even when no one is looking.
That’s keeping The Promise to The One.
The One is YOU.
You are amazing.
You are awesome.
You are a miracle.
You are also often a doofus.
But that doesn’t mean you’re a Promise Breaker, it just means you’re a human.
So accept the fact that you’re human, stop setting goals that only push you so far, that feel they can be reset over and over, year after year, and go do something unique:
Make a Promise.
To The One.
(Virginia Roberts Photography) (Jason Hewlett)
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
~ jason hewlett
Jason Hewlett, CSP (Certified Speaking Professional), CPAE Speaker Hall of Fame, is a Keynote Speaker for the largest corporate events in the world. His primary message, The Promise, is essential for Leadership, Management, Sales, Marketing, Direct-Sales Companies, and is a combination of engagement and entertainment meets inspiration. Jason has even received standing ovations from IT guys. He has been acknowledged as life-changing by Conference Attendees, C-Level Executives and Hollywood Elite. jasonhewlett.com