Keeping Commitments to Yourself
Such fun! My folks are visiting NY for the first time since we’ve moved here and we’re having a ball. Yesterday was apple picking in Westchester County and today we’re off to the city to explore. If I had a “normal” job, I would likely take the week off, wanting to soak up all our time together, but when you have your own business, there really is no “off”. I was successful in getting a lot done before they came, and I didn’t schedule any meetings, but writing my blog is one thing that I can’t put “on hold” – as I’ve made a commitment. To myself.
Now, in all truth, dear-blog-readers, I highly suspect you would survive if I didn’t write my blog for five days. My business wouldn’t dry up if, for a mere week, I took a break. The world as I know it wouldn’t end. But I’d know. I committed to taking my own disciplined path and it’s really made a difference for me.
Awhile back I read an article that was making the rounds on Linkedin about Jerry Seinfeld’s “Don’t Break the Chain” writing-tip that I found particularly useful. Seinfeld didn’t get voted as one of the top “100 comedians of all time” by comedy central or make $85 million/year just by accident, he worked at it. A lot. He had a calendar and every day he sat down to write he’d mark the date with a big red X. After awhile, his calendar was filled with strings of big red X’s. His rule was simple – “don’t break the chain”. The writing he produced every day wasn’t always good, but he did it anyway. He wrote. And he wrote. And he wrote.
I was on a conference call recently (the same call during which we bandied around the question of Making Purpose Visible), and I was telling them about how making the commitment to my blog has helped me. There’s something about forcing myself to do it every day (well…five days a week), that has been very freeing. In the past I’d get all caught up in wanting to be perfect, but perfection never came. So my writing went nowhere. But the commitment to myself has forced me to get out of my own way and just do it. Like Jerry, some days…not so good (as those of you who have stood by me during this process can attest!). Some days are okay. Some days are actually pretty good. But I’m no longer chasing elusive perfection. I’m keeping my commitment.
I can feel myself growing in the process. It’s making me better. A better writer. A better observer of life. A better me.
So often in life we keep our commitments to our clients, to our bosses, to our significant others, but we let the commitments we make to ourselves slide. We always think there will be time to do it another day, or we minimize the impact that breaking the promises we make to ourselves can have. But if we want to bring our best selves out into the world to get big things done, it’s not going to happen by accident. Natural talent is not enough. Good connections are not enough. We have to be creating our best self one X at a time.
What are you committed to?
©OnStage Leadership, 2013
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