Is a handshake enough? I remember when people used to say that a handshake was a strong enough bond to show that you commit to your word. This was also a representation of respect towards the other person. Now, it certainly takes more than a handshake to show your commitment.
I still don’t know if it has to do with age, maturity or if it is a matter of choice, but honoring your word can be a very difficult task when you lack responsibility and commitment. It all falls in your willingness to commit to your word and the respect you have for others. Whether it is in your personal or professional life, every day we face situations where without thinking we give our word, for instance, when we say yes and agree to “commit” to more than we can handle.
For example, when a person at your office asks you to bring a dish for a potluck and later on at home you realize you can’t follow through or, if you’re a business owner, how many times have you over-promised something? A deadline for a project or a delivery of a service? In our life, we all encounter situations where it is easy to say yes and “commit”.
I believe the biggest mistake we make when it comes to honoring our word, is that we take it for granted and we just commit without thinking about it.
You affect yourself and how other people view you when you do not keep your word. You lose credibility and respect. What you do will always be more important than what you say. Think of what Theodore Roosevelt said, “I care not what others think of what I do, but I care very much about what I think of what I do! That is character!”
Keeping your word is an act of integrity. It portrays you as the person you are. In a positive or negative light. You have the power to choose how you want to be seen.
The next time you encounter a situation where you commit to something I recommend these three tips that help me honor my word:
1) Before you say yes, think. Don’t act out of kindness. Be sure you know what it entails for you to say yes. Does your schedule give you time to actually do what you said yes to? Is it something that is within your reach?
2) You should not offer to do something if you are not asked. Many times when we offer to help and our assistance is not being acknowledged we fail to honor our word. So hold your horses and wait until you are asked for help in order to feel encouraged to follow through.
3) Be present. Be 100% aware of what you commit to. There are no excuses to not follow through with your commitment. The moment you give your word to something it is because you know what it entails. If you can’t commit to it, say it! And make the necessary adjustments.
Be truthful yourself and before anything honor your word. Let’s bring the handshake back in style.