Tag Archives: optimistic

Keeping Your Promises!

18 Dec

We promise according to our hopes, and perform according to our fears. ~Dag Hammarskjold

I don’t think there has ever been a truer statement then the one from Dag Hammarskjold above. For those not familiar with Dag Hammarskjold, he was a Swedish diplomat, economist, and author. He is best known for being the second Secretary-General of the United Nations, serving in that role from April 1953 until his death in a plane crash in September 1961.

As human beings we were programed to be optimistic. It is our natural state. And when we promise another that we will do something for them, our promises are made with the full intent of providing the other with the best that we can offer. It could be a promise to a child, a spouse, a boss, co-worker or even a customer. We intend to deliver.

Although, a promise and delivering on that promise are two sides of the same coin, there is often a disconnect between agreeing to the promise and following through on that promise. That disconnect is usually fear. The fear we feel when delivering on the promise forces us to step outside of our comfort zone.

For example: we promise and agree to sit on the board of a local non-profit. Having served on many boards I know that as board members we are often asked to volunteer our time, business skills, knowledge and advice. As a board member of the Northern California chapter of the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation I had various duties assigned to me. When I became President of the board I took on additional responsibilities. And one of those tasks was to be the voice of the chapter. That meant delivering many talks and speeches to members, future members and high level donors.

Fortunately, by this time I had overpowered my fears of public speaking. Otherwise my presidency could have been a disaster. But for many other people whose desire it is to serve others, they must often face and try to overpower the fears that emerge when they try new things, winning some and losing others.

Making promises to provide others with something is always a noble gesture. But before making that promise, make sure you know what the future holds for you. If you know you’re going to face fear on your path to delivery, make sure you can face and overpower those fears. If not, what you deliver may not come close to what you promised.

Best always,