Due to the word “PROMISE”, I am often asked if this is a religious concept first and foremost.
Full disclosure: I believe there are SPIRITUAL undertones in everything we do; in business, in community, in social settings, and is the basis of our leadership.
The Promise has become a foundational expression of my existence.
And so, when I am called out for “not living The Promise”, that one stings, especially when true.
Case in point ~
Recently I was in a very important meeting, working to collaborate with a client as we would go to the next level of success together.
As it seemed we were moving forward, suddenly things took a stark turn with one ill placed question that resulted in the client calling me out in a group setting for not having kept The Promise as much as I should have, suggesting that “the guy living The Promise should have done things differently”…and it was painfully true.
As I tried to salvage any part of the relationship, due to my lack of commitment that was clearly called out in my being under-prepared, I stumbled over a few words as the meeting ended, but had to hold back a great rebuttal that would have served ego but only ruined my greater Promise to self.
WWJD came to mind.
The deal was dead. It was on my head. Egg on my face? That’s a real feeling!
“Turn the other cheek” is really, REALLY hard to do!
The forced smiles and obligatory handshakes upon departure were palpably painful, as I slinked out the door to a long drive home.
Why would I share such a humiliating failure on this blog?
Because The Promise, even when we break it, helps us to continually strive to live it.
In the post-meeting email stream, WWJD was still there.
My pride was damaged, I had every kind of retort at the ready, and yet, The Promise in this case – having been broken on my part, and got me into this mess – also kept me out of getting into a bigger one.
Maybe you already know this: WWJD stands for “What Would Jesus Do“?
Whatever WWJD is for you – in this case, I am referring to my hero, and on this Easter Sunday proudly proclaim He is my Hero, even Jesus Christ – I am assuming you have your own version of this, no matter what your belief system is.
For example – my siblings and mother have a running joke of adoration for my wife, Tami, who is perhaps the best heat-of-the-moment-decision-maker any of us know, so they actually have bracelets that say, WWTD, or “What Would Tami Do”?
When I am speaking on stage, and I feel the room may be shifting away from loving my messaging and need something more entertaining to bring them back, I think, “WWDGD”, or “What Would Danny Gans Do”? (my performing hero)
When responding to emails after a disagreement, I think, “WWALD”, or “What Would Abraham Lincoln Do”?
Have you heard the story that after Lincoln died, they found in his desk page after page of harsh rebuke letters to people in his leadership…that he wrote, yet never sent?
Why would he do that?
Because he knew that most of the time you must keep The Promise to rise above what you want to say, that will most likely permanently damage the relationship, get it out on paper, never send the paper, and say something that will inspire instead.
Side Note: Abraham Lincoln’s common practice was also asking himself, as President of our Country, “WWJD”?
This is a very disciplined practice for all leaders, be it 1860, or today – and I’d argue much more difficult in 2021 – when the immediate rebuttal of an email, Tweet, comment on YouTube, or text can get us into some seriously hot water.
All week I have been focused on the life of Christ, and thinking about this powerful concept of WWJD, which is driven by thwarting ego from saving face, even if and when we know we have broken The Promise, it hurts our soul to know we did, hurts to know we were called out, and hurts to know we ought not reply with the sword or shield, but rather the kinder word and pausing yield.
Your Promise Prompt This Week
Share in the comments your version of WWJD, WWTD, or WWALD.
Who is that mentor, hero, friend that inspires you to keep The Promise, even if you’ve broken it or are called out, and just the thought of a hero’s Promise/ reaction will lead you to keeping The Greater Promise moving forward?
~ Jason Hewlett
* The Promise Institute Co-Founder
* Promise Culture Keynote Speaker
* Speaker Hall of Fame
Author of “The Promise To The One”