Growing up, my grandfather was known for teaching us that “Your word is your bond. It’s like you’re signing a verbal contract with others,” he’d explain. When you follow through, people know that they can trust you.
Sadly, today this age-old axiom is often lost on our society where we have so many options and schedule changes. We often don’t commit until the last minute or end up not following through because something else came up. And I’ve found that this is especially true in my parenting circles where life changes at lightning speed and the excuses come just as fast…
“He took a late nap…”
“It’s a school night…”
“The traffic is terrible…”
“It’s cold season…”
“Can we reschedule?”
It often feels impossible to juggle all the demands of life, especially when unforeseen situations occur and we have to choose how to respond. While all of these reasons may be valid and true based on the circumstances, what happens when they take the place of a commitment you’ve made to a friend, employer, or even yourself?
Yes, life requires flexibility and a healthy does of empathy and understanding that all doesn’t (ever really) go to plan.
Being true to our word isn’t conditional.
It’s a core condition of living with integrity.
Accountability requires commitment, even (and especially) when it’s hard. When you show up and do what you’ll say, people know they can trust you. We have to find a balance between living flexibly with accountability that works in our relationships and lives.
What Are You Known For?
Using the prompts below, take a few minutes to consider what you are known for in each of the following audiences and environments:
In my work as a Leadership and Life Coach over the past decade, I’ve noticed that the first person we break commitments with is typically ourselves. That’s why I’ve listed it first on the chart above. It’s easier to ignore our own needs, desires, dreams, and goals when we’re busy helping so many other people, especially in the early years of parenting. But what it we didn’t have to?
I believe that our lives are made for more.
And when we prioritize ourselves as part of the overall picture (not just the last part), everyone wins. One way I’ve taught my kids (and myself!) this, is sharing that in our family, we take turns. Sometimes it’s your turn, and sometimes it’s mine.
During the hectic morning shuffle when I’m feeling rushed and reactive, I’ve often paused to take a deep breath and to share “just a moment, it’s Mommy’s turn now” and I finish getting ready. Yes, there may be whines or tears (and sometimes they’re mine!), but this simple practice teaches our children the valuable lesson that we all need time and can learn to share it.
My Word Is My…
With this in mind, I invite you to respond to the following phrase based on how you’re currently treating yourself when it comes to being accountable for what you want and need to do.
How will you fill in the blank?
What do you REALLY want in this season of your life?
Write your goals and desires down now and then thoughtfully consider the following reflective questions as you turn them into action.
What do you need now to feel supported so you can commit to yourself more?
Maybe it’s something you need to start – or STOP – doing to hold yourself more accountable.
Who is one person you can reach out to for this support?
Write their name down and make a commitment to reach out to them in the next 48 hours to share more about your needs.
When are you willing to start?
Imagine how you will feel in three months if you started now. And if not now, why not now?
Make a plan. Stick to it. Notice the difference.
Write down a start date and set incremental objectives weekly to make progress. Reach out to the person you named above to let them know how you’re doing or choose another accountability partner to celebrate your success and process your setbacks with.
And if you need even more support, we’ve got you covered! Contact us to learn more about ways we can support your success and help you activate your dreams.