When You Make Promises, Keep ‘Em

Today’s inspiration comes from a tiny slip of paper tucked inside a fortune cookie: “It’s tempting to make promises, but can you fulfill them all?” Ah, the age-old conundrum of commitment and follow-through. In a world buzzing with opportunities and connections, how do we ensure that our promises don’t become empty gestures?

Here are a few essential concepts to ponder on the importance of honoring commitments and ways to navigate this delicate balance:

  • Build Trust, Not Expectations.  Promises are the currency of relationships, whether personal or professional. Each commitment you make is a building block of trust. However, over-promising can lead to unmet expectations, eroding trust faster than a poorly brewed cup of coffee (pun intended).
  • Prioritize Your Promises.  Not all promises are created equal. Prioritize your commitments based on importance and feasibility. It’s crucial to recognize that saying ‘yes’ to one thing often means saying ‘no’ to another. Choose wisely and focus on what aligns with your goals and values.
  • Communicate Realistic Timelines.  Time management is the key to fulfilling promises. Be realistic about the time it takes to deliver on your commitments. If you’re facing a tight schedule, communicate openly about your availability and set clear expectations. People appreciate transparency, and it helps manage their expectations.
  • Learn to Say ‘No.’  The art of saying ‘no’ is a skill that can save you from overcommitting. Politely decline requests that you cannot fulfill or that don’t align with your priorities. It’s better to decline gracefully than to spread yourself thin and risk letting people down.
  • Regularly Evaluate and Adjust.  Periodically review your commitments. Are they still relevant? Have circumstances changed? Regularly evaluating and adjusting your promises ensures that you stay aligned with your goals and can fulfill your commitments effectively.

This fortune cookie’s wisdom reminds us to be mindful of the promises we make. Building and maintaining trust through reliable commitments is the key to successful networking and relationships.

Happy Networking!

P.S. – With appreciation to my pal, André Davis, for a great read on the topic of prioritizing your activities and involvement based on your goals and values, check out Essentialism:  The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown.

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