“At the very heart of our Circle of Influence is our ability to make and keep commitments and promises. The commitments we make to ourselves and to others, and our integrity to those commitments, is the essence and clearest manifestation of our proactivity.
It is also the essence of our growth. Through our human endowments of self-awareness and conscience, we become conscious of areas of weakness, areas for improvement, areas of talent that could be developed, areas that need to be changed or eliminated from our lives. Then as we recognize and use our imagination and independent will to act on that awareness—making promises, setting goals, and being true to them —we build the strength of character, the being, that makes possible every other positive thing in our lives.
It is here that we find two ways to put ourselves in control of our lives immediately. We make a promise—and keep it. Or we can set a goal—and work to achieve it. As we make and keep commitments, even small commitments, we begin to establish an inner integrity that gives us the awareness of self-control and the courage and strength to accept more of the responsibility for our own lives. By making and keeping promises to ourselves and others, little by little, our honor becomes greater than our moods.
The power to make and keep commitments to ourselves is the essence of developing the basic habits of effectiveness. Knowledge, skill, and desire are all within our control. We can work on any one to improve the balance of the three. As the area of intersection becomes larger, we more deeply internalize the principles upon which the habits are based and create the strength of character to move us in a balanced way toward increasing effectiveness in our lives.”
A commitment was made to an individual that I would remain on an organizational board until this individual retired. This person committed, to me, support to make necessary changes in the organization. Unfortunately this individual did not support any of the changes I recommended, so true to my values and principles, I met him, and informed him that I would be unable keep my commitment due to his inability to keep his commitment to me.
Another commitment was made to recommend appropriate space and activities for a segment of the local population. Two years of work and preparation went into the project before recommendations were made. These recommendations, in Phase I of the project, were approved, as Phase II continued progressing. A change in the local political “climate”, along with Phase I plans being altered (after approval of Phase I) impressed upon me that I had expended as much energy as I could. In addition, when politicians think that witch-hunting is an appropriate form of governing it is time for values, principles, integrity, health and relationships to “trump” such behavior, and I resigned from the project.
Covey’s “right-on” with his convictions about commitments/promises, but not at the expense of things more valuable.
Next: Habit 2 Begin With The End In Mind
Principles Of Personal Leadership