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”


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10 thoughts on “WWJD”

  1. I strive to also consider WWJD, though I have often struggled in my striving. Yet, in my struggles, I have discovered that not only is Jesus Christ the Savior of the world, He is also my Savior.

    Before this moment, I have never considered alternatives to the WWJD formula. I especially appreciate WWALD as I see Abraham Lincoln as a stalwart exemplar.

    Closer to home, WWED would represent Elisa, my angel wife who has consistently been a guiding light even in those times I have shrunk from her shining love. I would also have a variant of this four-letter reminder for each of my children — Cody, Clint, Brenin, Rebecca, and Leslie. Each of them has a hold on my heart in specific instances.

    WWRWD is for one other whose example has been a continual influence in my life for 20 years. Richard Walker is a longtime Home Teacher, ministering brother, business mentor, and true friend. He has been there in the darkness and in the light, in the struggle and in the norm. Like Elisa, he has seen the whole of me and still loved the whole of me.

    I feel it is not out of line to wonder if there might be one who has WWLD on their mind and heart. While I never wish to see myself as a hero, I do hope those who see me struggle in the mire and muck of life, will also see my continual effort to keep my promise to “Get back up every time, no matter what.”

    I hope they will see me rise upward and forward. I hope they will see me reach out for and then accept help when I have struggled to rise on my own. I hope they will see me embrace the flicker of light in the dark tunnel moments of life as well as the bright ensign of light at the end of the tunnel.

    I hope they will also see I will always focus on the beauty, love, and greatness in others. No matter the path they have traveled, no matter their mistakes or successes, no matter their anger and hatred or their joy and love.

    If this effort, though still often most feeble, would make me worthy of WWLD, I will confidently embrace that role.

    After all, is this not WWJD?

    1. Wonderful thoughts, Les. I really like that. I’ve thought similarly in the past but didn’t think it would ever be an option for anyone to say. So, I’m glad you’ve penned it. Thank you.

  2. Thomas W Cantrell

    What Would Jesus Do?
    could also be…
    What WILL Jason Do?
    Clean the Easter egg off your face.
    You are aces just for doing your best, especially when you feel you’ve done your worst.
    The new caricature is awesome — it really captures YOU.
    No matter, what you did wrong or think you didn’t do right, you, Raptor Man, are still the man o’ the promise who walks his talk (with only an occasional human-type stumble) with your signature moves… (okay that got a little long)
    Thanks for the transparency.
    You d’ man!
    (a poor reflection of the real raptor man, but my grandkids still love it)

  3. Wow, write out your frustration, anger, resentment, etc. and never send it – I think I will have to adopt that strategy as it sounds like an effective one, indeed! I don’t have a WW… version, but now I have my homework for today! Thanks for sharing this vulnerable story, it’s a great reminder to turn the other cheek in the heat of the moment, 🙂

    1. Thank you John. That one concept by Lincoln has helped me so much in life and business. I’m glad it grabs your mind as well.

  4. Hi Jason it’s Wanda Ryba from Phoenix AZ again. I love it when you post things like this because it makes me realize that not everything we do receives an outcome we expect. Sometimes Jesus has an alternative that he wants us to do. We need to look at the WWJSM or What Will Jesus Show Me concept. You may not have been in your best form that day, which happened to everyone, but look what lesson Jesus taught you. We all strive to be more like Jesus! In reality, we are only human and God knows we are all a work in progress. So he sends us situation in life for us to learn from. I think that’s what happened to you this time. It doesn’t mean that you have not walked the Promise, just that you had a bad day, the next day will come also and you’ll do better. Remember that you are Human and not a spiritual being. So WWJSM should be added to that list. Keep up the good work, keep sharing the gospel and making people feel happy through your comedy. You are truly blessed.

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