Commitment has always been a HEAVY word to me. It tampers with my sense of freedom, and always seemed to limit my choices in life. Yet, I’ve come to experience the magic and power of “commitment”, as it brings focus, energy, resources and a different kind of freedom.
The state of being bound emotionally or intellectually to a course of action or
to another person or persons.
I had been working with a publisher to have my Living in Choice Program published into a book. In early August, it was clear that the extensive submission form needed to be completed by 8/31, in order to have my book published in April 2005. Between the daunting task list and the abundance of summer activities, the idea of putting the pub date off another six months became more appealing as each day ticked by.
About a week before the deadline, something inside of me clicked and I became “committed” (It was somewhat related to the phone call from The Oprah Winfrey Show). Was it realistic to submit a book cover, testimonials, a content summary, marketing plan, market comparison analysis, have a photo shoot and tentatively schedule a book tour in ONLY ten days? It seems that anything IS possible, when one is COMMITTED.
More amazing than meeting this deadline (which I’m happy to report was met), was witnessing and experiencing the power of commitment in a new way. It’s caused me to view commitment more as an ally and source of strength, than something confining and restrictive.
What is your relationship to commitment?
Do you find it easy to commit? Do you avoid commitment if you can? What triggers your ability commit? Are you more likely to commit to yourself or when others make a request? Simply becoming aware of your patterns around commitment is revealing.
I find that willingness to commit correlates with one’s perceived ability to succeed, or avoid failure. Whether it’s a business project, relationship or adventure, I personally find it easier to commit the more confident I am that I will succeed. If I’m not sure I can pull it off, I tend to avoid the commitment.
Commitment vs. Desire
I want to lose weight. I’d like the relationship to work. I’d love to get that project done by next week. I don’t want my children to get hurt. I prefer that I’m not late. My newsletter should go out today. It would be great if I spent time with my family or partner. I intend on sending those thank you notes. I usually keep my word. These are all desires, yet the language of “want to”, “like to”, “it would be great”, “should” and “I prefer” provides an out and lacks commitment.
I will workout 5 times this week. I’m committed to making my partner happy. The project WILL get done. I am going to the zoo with my children tomorrow. I’m always on time. I keep my word. I am committed.
Notice your own language as you talk about your own desires and commitments. And, just as important as SAYING you’re committed – is following through with action.
What are the benefits of commitment?
Have you noticed that something magical happens when one is truly committed? When one commits, one decides. A decision is cutting off all other possibilities with clear and focused outcome. With clarity comes FREEDOM to pursue direction.
Doubt, fear and lack of clarity melt in the presence of commitment as new resources, ideas and creativity emerge. With commitment also comes belief in oneself. With commitment comes a WILLINGNESS to be open to new possibilities, and a willingness to “do whatever it takes” to achieve the desired result. With commitment, the strengthened connection to the core of your being, as you access your most authentic and creative self.
In the example above, there were dozens of details to address and when I committed, suddenly the Universe was now conspiring WITH me because my direction was clear. All the pieces came together magically. Where there was fuzziness, clarity emerged. When I was stuck, helped appeared. Creativity flowed. And, the objective was realized. This deadline is not an isolated case. When commitment is present, one always finds a way.
Where have you COMMITTED?
Sometimes we’re forced to commit, sometimes we freely choose them, and sometimes commitment is negotiable. Catching an airline flight to Hawaii, attending a special event (wedding/graduation for children), paying taxes on 4/15, or showing up at a court hearing. These are examples of forced commitments. Moving is another one. While it may feel impossible in the middle of a move — it’s a MUST to get all belongings from one place to another. You’re committed. You do whatever it takes, even if obstacle present themselves.
Look at what is present when you are committed in each of these situations. We can learn a lot by observing ourselves. How is this different from commitments where you FREELY choose to commit?
Another element of magic and power emerges when we freely CHOOSE to commit. We ARE at CHOICE. There is enormous satisfaction in following through with a 10 Day Cleansing Fast or a 90 Day Workout Program. When we do what say we will do, overcoming distractions, fear and doubt along the way…it is fulfilling. This is true whether the commitment is to yourself, your health, your clients/business, an extreme adventure, friends, family or your significant other.
SOULFUL CHALLENGE: Take inventory of the times you COMMITTED in the past? What new resources were available for you? What benefits did you realize? The more in touch with the gifts of commitment, the more we will freely choose to access it…and enjoy its results.