I have noticed an obvious pattern in my work with hundreds of business and life coaching clients over the last five years – my clients who make the strongest commitment to their goals are far more successful than those who don’t. Commitment may be the most critical shortcut to success.
If you want a recipe for failure, here it is: don’t commit. Instead, leave yourself the option of quitting. Leave the back door open. Question your dedication to your goal (or your vision/direction) and indulge in doubt about whether it is possible, likely, or worth the effort. Delay your decision to commit and spend an infinite amount of time exploring all of your options. Don’t commit to reaching your goal, instead, try to reach your goal. Avoid the fear of failure by not committing 100%. That way if you don’t reach your goal, you can say you didn’t really try that hard and you can pretend you didn’t really want the goal after all. Sound familiar? I think we’ve all taken this approach before. It often leads to failure. Fortunately, there is a better way.
Before you read the rest of this post, I want you to bring a goal to mind. What do you want? Make it something that is important to you. You might be afraid that you’ll fail if you really go for it, or you might fear that you’ll have to sacrifice too much to get there. Keep this goal in mind as you read on, and consider making a powerful commitment to making this goal a reality.
“Don’t be afraid of the space between your dreams and reality. If you can dream it, you can make it so.”
– Belva Davis
No More Trying – Only Doing!
I frequently quote Yoda from Star Wars when one of my coaching clients uses the word “try”. Yoda, the Jedi Master, guided young Like Skywalker, “Try? There is no Try! There is only DO and NOT DO.” Your inner Yoda knows that trying is not enough. When we TRY to do something, the possibility of failure is always with us. With DO and NOT DO, we make a choice. Failure is NOT an option.
You can relate to your goal like it’s a fantasy, and hope that it comes true; or you can commit to achieving your goal. Even if you don’t know “how” to reach your goal yet, you can still commit to its achievement. You can choose to trust that you will discover the “how” along the way. In fact, commitment usually precedes having your strategy fully flushed out. First you commit, then you go to work developing a strategy and a plan.
Commitment accelerates your progress and makes you more effective; and it makes you more attractive to people and resources that can help. Here is my favorite quote about commitment. You might want to post this one on your wall.
“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation) there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. I have learned a deep respect for one of Goethe’s couplets: ‘Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.'”
– William H. Murray (from his book “The Scottish Himalayan Expedition”)
Exercise – Stepping Into Commitment
Here’s a simple but powerful exercise you can do.
Choose a goal or vision that you would like to make a stronger commitment to. Stand up, picture an imaginary line on the floor a step or two in front of you. On this side of the line is “the land of hopes, dreams, good intentions and good ideas” and on the other side of the line is “the land of commitment – of doing whatever it takes, of being unstoppable.”
Close your eyes if it helps you to go within and get in touch with that place inside where commitment is generated. Now, when you’re truly ready, step across the line. Once you’re on the other side, take a moment to feel how it feels to step fully into your commitment. Celebrate!
For more practical Short Cuts To Success, click here.