“Commitment is what transforms a promise into reality. It is the words that speak boldly of your intentions. And the actions which speak louder than the words. It is making the time when there is none. Coming through time after time after time, year after year after year. Commitment is the stuff character is made of; the power to change the face of things. It is the daily triumph of integrity over skepticism.” –Abraham Lincoln
I like this quote, I really do. I think because it takes a buzzword like commitment, which can easily be strewn around without much attention to its meaning, and it makes it a much more concrete thing. Commitment is certainly a critical component of character and success but I contend it’s also a major factor in happiness. Think about it, commitment means you make a promise to be all in on those things that are important to you, whatever they are. Maybe it’s a personal interest, a goal, a sport, your partner, kids or your organization. Commitment means you have a willingness and reason to do the things needed to get you what you want.
When you are willing to do the things you need to get you what you want, you are way more likely to actually get them. And even when you don’t, knowing you were all in and made a real effort, knowing you dared greatly and tried your best is a reward in itself. Commitment takes real courage though, and not everyone has it. Why courage? When you commit to something, whether publicly or privately, you make a promise to yourself. This promise makes you vulnerable. What if I fail? What if I’m not smart enough? What if I’m not good enough? What if I’m not strong enough? Savvy enough? Tough enough? Courage is the answer to all of these questions. It is little voice in your head telling you, ‘who cares, I’m going to go for it anyway.’
Why is it so important in leadership that leaders of all types have a strong commitment to our vision, purpose and plan? Because leading people to do new, different and better things is very hard. Because quite often, our commitment can ignite commitment in our teams. Without commitment, without the ‘making time where there is none,” without the internal drive to get to the finish line, race after race after race, without the courage to talk down the fear and doubt, the transformation of a ‘promise to reality’ would never happen.