A commitment means that we’ve made a promise, and no matter what happens, we won’t waver. A commitment has certainty and passion. It has power and vision. When obstacles appear they don’t deter us because the thing we’re committed to is what matters the most, above all else. One of the memorable scenes in the movie “Star Wars” shows an exasperated Yoda saying enigmatically to Luke Skywalker, “Always with you it’s what cannot be done! Hear you nothing that I say? You must unlearn what you have learned.”

Luke replies reluctantly and with very little confidence, “All right. I’ll give it a try,” to which Yoda famously declares, “No! Try not. Do. Or do not. There is no try.”

We often say what Luke Skywalker said: “I’ll give it a try.” But “I’ll try” is no indication of a commitment, no matter how sincerely and impassioned we declare it. How do we know when we or someone else is committed?


Talk Is Cheap

Author Steve Chandler believes that our actions, not our words, indicate commitment. He tells the story of an employee, let’s call him Jack, who is in St. Louis, asking his teammate, Harry, if he’ll meet him in Philadelphia for an important meeting.

“I’ll try,” says Harry.

“That’s not very convincing,” says Jack.

“Oh, you know I’ll be there,” says Harry.

“That’s not much better,” says Jack.

“I promise,” says Harry “I’m making a commitment to be there.”

“I’m still not convinced,” says Jack. “I want a real commitment. Then I’ll feel confident that you’ll be there.”

“A real commitment? What would that be?” asks Harry.

“Show me a plane ticket and a hotel reservation in Philadelphia,” says Jack. “Then I’ll know you’re committed.”


Your Actions “Lock In” Your Commitments

It’s easy to make promises. But words are simply words if they are not backed up by action. Is this a pattern of yours? How often do you assume that you will fulfill your commitment only to fail to deliver?

How can you take action regarding your commitments? What one or two actions can you take that will “lock in” your commitments, hold your feet to the fire, and provide negative consequences if you fail to keep your promise?


Take Action On Making and Keeping Commitments With These Three Steps:

Stop Making Excuses and Blaming Others

  • Consider areas where you fail to keep commitments with people. See how blaming others and making excuses allows this to continue.
  • Where do you procrastinate? Where do you do what’s more interesting? Where do you avoid doing what’s unpleasant?

Drop the Non-committed, “Victim of Circumstance” Language

  • “I’ll do my best,” “I’ll try,” “If I get to it,” “I’ve been meaning to do that.”

Take Committed, “Owner of My Own Destiny” Action

  • “By 4 PM this Friday,” “I’ve cleared my calendar,” “I bought the ring.”