This may seem a odd “how to” blog, but many people do not keep agreements. In step 1, we invited you to become aware of what you are saying and doing that may be construed as an agreement.
In a prior blog, we talked about the prices you pay for breaking your agreements – mostly the loss of trust which erodes relationships. And relationships are key to what you want – in business and elsewhere in life.
So step #2 can fairly be said to start with the commitment to keep your agreements. If you can see the value, then you get to decide – here and now – that keeping agreements is a priority. Write it down: “From this day forward I will keep my agreements.” Don’t write, “I will try to keep my agreements.” I know it probably scares you to say “I will,” but anything less allows you not to take this seriously. It gives you an out. Of course you will not keep your agreements 100% of the time. But commit anyway.
Once you commit, here are some steps you can take:
- Be intentional in your language when you enter an agreement. Start using the word “promise” to indicate you are making an agreement. Or say, “Yes, I am agreeing to do that.” If you use this language out loud, you are being clear to the other person, and perhaps more importantly, to yourself, that this is an agreement. And from this day forward, an agreement is something you are promising yourself you will keep. This language will wake you up. Use this with all agreements – whether you believe they are “big” or “small”. The truth is there are no big or small agreements. There are only big or small consequences. All agreements carry weight in terms of trust and relationship.
- Write down all agreements. Again, this will wake you up to the fact you are making an agreement. It will also provide you with a tracking system to notice whether and how often you are keeping your agreements. Finally, it will help you to remember them if they are written down.
- Schedule the time that you will take the action you have agreed to take. This will go a long way toward you keeping all your agreements. If you say, “yes, I will get you the project by Friday at 5pm,” then go to your calendar and ask yourself “when will I be working on this project? How exactly will I complete this by the time I promised?” This act will dramatically increase your frequency for agreement-keeping.
Next week we will talk about how things change when you start keeping all agreements. So do it and find out what it’s like.