Commitment Means Taking the Steps

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I saw an intriguing advertisement for today with the phrase, “Commitments aren’t made with words.  They’re made with Actions.”

That phrase got me thinking about how commitments work.  At first, you make a commitment in your head.  

  •  To go to the gym more often
  •  To grade papers this week  
  •  To clean the garage this weekend
  •  To volunteer more next year

What commitments have you made to yourself?

The ad differentiated between commitments made by Words vs Action.  In a former life, I was an engineer, so I started thinking how physics might shed light on the concept of Commitment.  

Let’s begin with our science metaphor.  (don’t be scared, I’ll keep it easy) 

Commitments build the Potential Energy needed to overcome Inertia.  Inertia is an object’s tendency to stay put.  

  •  Ever feel inertia to do things you ‘should’ do?  
  •  Ever experience your team’s inertia to try a new process, tool or technology?  
  •  How about your customer’s inertia to commit to your service?   

Commitments made with words increase Potential Energy … and you need sufficient Potential Energy to overcome inertia and move an object.  You deliver reminders, motivators and incentives.  These are ways you use to build Potential Energy. 

As the ad says, though, these commitments are words only.

You build Potential Energy.  

And then it’s time.  

Time to take the First Step.

When you take that First Step, your commitment now converts Potential Energy into Force.  And with Force you move things.  Positive Action makes you a Positive Force in the World!

People see you take the First Step and they start believing the commitment you made with words.

Oh yea, Action is Force.

Repeated Action creates a Constant Force THAT moves objects.  Moves people.  This is where commitment truly kicks in!  Your Repeated Actions become an undeniable Constant Force.  People LOVE predictability, especially if the action is aligned with passion and with a cause in which they can believe!

Constant Force sustained on an object, people or an environment over the long-term delivers Significant Impact.  With a Constant Force sustained over 2, 5 or 10 years, you can achieve outrageous goals.  

There’s a tiny, critical piece that makes all this happen.

In physics, it’s called a Vector.  

Vector is Direction.

You see, to achieve Significant Impact, you must focus your Actions in ONE direction over the long-term.  

One direction.  Keep focused on the rally point.  

Oh yea.  This….now THIS is Commitment.  

Wake up every day and remind yourself WHY you do what you do.  Stay focused and you will achieve your goals.  You will make your Significant Impact.  You’ll reach beyond your wildest dreams!   

And I bet you have some pretty wild dreams!

My Story of Career Commitment:  Building a Multi-million Dollar Practice from Scratch 

I was 10 years into my career as a change management professional at one of the Big 4 Consulting Companies.  I had a reputation as the Go To guy for turning around difficult projects.  

And then the company decided to de-emphasize change management.  The resource cuts went deep.  My job.  My career was in jeopardy.

As the rug got pulled out from under me, I had to do a career backflip and land on my feet.  I had to redefine my identity and career…and start over.

Ever been there?

I started our Sales Talent Solutions practice from scratch.  My basic mission was simply to Help Sellers Sell.  Give every seller the schools, tools and rules they need to succeed.

I quickly launched a 4-week Seller Diagnostic.  The concept was simple.  

  • Ride along with High Performing Sellers
  • Ask how they do their work  
  • Observe them in action with their customers  
  • Then, build capabilities so all the Sellers in the organization can perform better  

It may sound odd, especially with a competitive Sales Force, but the high performing sellers were eager to share their secret sauce with other sellers.  They knew it would just make them better.

We gave that 4-week Seller Diagnostic away for free to our first client.  I worked hard to persuade my company to give me the investment to back my idea.  A little budget was all the Potential Energy I needed make it go.  

My job was to grow that investment into a bona fide practice.

16 years later, with Constant Force focused on one goal, helping sellers sell, we were selling a patented High Performance Sales Force Analytics offering to our clients.  Personality Tests.  Competency Assessments.  Time and Activity Analysis.  We were selling multi-million dollar projects, helping their sellers sell.  Our clients were generating millions in new revenue.  

And it all began when the rug got pulled out.  There I was standing flat footed with no momentum … and a commitment.  A commitment to revolutionize how sellers sell.  

Commitment to Potential Energy to Constant Force to Significant Impact. 

It begins with Commitment.  Align your actions consistently.  Keep going.  One step at a time.  Project by project.  Year by year.  You’ll see your dreams slowly materialize.

All it takes is ….

Commitment, first in Word, then in Consistent and Sustained Action!


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