Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Possibly the Most Important Lesson

My recent coaching work has reminded me of a truly simple lesson that I want to ensure my kids learn. In fact, this one skill may carry them further than any other. It's easy, but oh so hard - do what you say.

If there is one thing that they need to do right in life to be happy it is that. The larger word for the concept is integrity. If you consistently do what you say you will do, people will respond favorably to you, they will trust you, they will connect with you, they will build a ongoing relationship with you. If you continually fail to do what you said you will do, the consequences can be monumental.

Obviously, this concept applies to being successful in a career, but it is the key to personal relationships too. Great damage can be inflicted if a loved one constantly shows a lack of integrity.

I know that some people think it is no big deal to go back on your word, but I am not one of them. Because I have made this a major commitment in my life, I now find it very difficult to stay engaged with someone who does not do what they say they will do. If I meet people who do what they say, I am a fan, friend or customer for life.

So, basically, in order to continually do what I say I will do, I have two choices. I can either do it ... or not say it. This makes me very careful about what promises I make to Lucas and Mya. If there is even a hint of a possibility that I can't carry though then I do not make the promise. If I have said it, then I need to follow through. If I'm unable to for a solid reason, then I need to apologize and explain why I can't do it. "I'm sorry, I didn't realize it was going to rain all day when I said we would ..... or "I thought we had some and I'm sorry I promised that ...." As you can imagine, even unexpected broken promises are painful. I wouldn't even want to imagine the damage of avoidable ones.

I am so very hopeful that Lucas and Mya get to grow up to be people of integrity. I'll do my best - and I mean that.

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