Sticking to a commitment is important.
Until recently, I have been rubbish at sticking to my commitments. I’m still not all that great now, but am improving.
This morning I had a bereavement support visit planned for 11am. At 9.30am I looked outside the window, saw the snow falling and settling on the ground and reconsidered my half-hour walk each way.
After deliberating on it for a few minutes, I called the client, suggesting we postpone to the following week. I could immediately hear disappointment in his voice. He explained how he had psyched himself up for the session (it was our very first session), “but hey”, he said, “it’s not as bad as other things I’ve been through recently”. His wife had died a month earlier.
That sadness in his voice woke me up to my own selfish intentions… and melted them. I was so much more concerned about my own comforts that I had forgotten about his pain, his needs, his suffering.
I decided there and then that I would make sure I got to that session, come rain, shine or snow! Yes it was a half-hour trek in the snow, and yes I was frozen when I reached there, but the session was worth it. I placed someone else’s need above my own and it felt damn good.
Commitments are so important
Nomatter how crappy we may be feeling inside, we have no idea what impact not sticking to a commitment will have on the person we have promised to meet or do something for.
It could have gone so many ways. He may have given up hope in support from others. He may have got angry and complained to the organisation that I represent when making these visits. He may have drowned his sorrows (with alcohol) and hidden from the world.
On the flip side, it was an effective session for him and certainly a valuable experience for me.
What’s more, it shook me up to my priorities, what’s important to me and doing the work that’s important. I feel a great sense of purpose in bereavement support work and this morning’s deliberation not only made me act unprofessionally… it took away something that is so important in my life.
So when I took that leap and decided to make that trek in the snow to keep my commitment, all the right stuff fell back into place.
As time moves forward, make fewer commitments (focusing on the important ones) and then stick to each of them. The world will be better for it.