What does your word mean to you? To me, it means everything.
I used to be flippant with my yesses and promises but these days I guard them with my life.
It’s so easy for us to mistakenly promise that which we later regret.
Point in case, a client of mine a while ago made an agreement with his colleague.
At that time it seemed to make sense, but later his words came back to bite him.
The deal had taken on a life of its own and with more people getting mixed into the fold my client was put in an awkward place in which he had to backpedal.
He reneged on his original promise and had all sorts of ideas and suggestions to appease the unhappy party but nothing seemed to work.
He tried using the sympathy card, asking for understanding.
He tried putting the blame elsewhere.
He tried arguing by saying that he didn’t need to include his colleague in the deal.
There was only one problem – he had made a promise, in writing (albeit email), and was trying to get out of it.
When my client told me the story I found it very interesting because he tried to skim over the last point, explaining everything else in detail.
The question I asked him I’ll ask you, “What does your word mean?”
He got the message.
He knew he had made a mistake and it was no one else’s fault but his own.
In life, like in business, we must be careful not to overpromise.
If we aren’t expecting anything and then receive something it comes as a welcome surprise.
However, if we expect something and don’t get it, we are upset.
We get upset when friends let us down and we are angry when our business partners don’t honor their commitment.
In life, or business, our words count.
I try and choose my words carefully, so as to avoid backing myself into a corner.
A leader is one who leads by example meaning he lives by his words.
A leader must inspire people by painting a picture of a better tomorrow but he must be able to back up what he says otherwise in time his supporters will turn on him.
So, are you a leader?
Or just someone with empty promises?