“That sounds great. I’ll email you on Tuesday, I promise.”

Tuesday arrives … no email …

“Okay, I can do 3pm on Thursday for 30 minutes. I’ll call you on your mobile.”

3.15pm on Thursday … no call …

“I need to do my tax return, I’ll do it by the end of this week.”

The end of the week comes and goes … then another week … and another … no tax return is filed.

“I’ll start exercising next week, go for a little jog.”

One month later … trainers are still at the bottom of the wardrobe … covered in dust.

Four examples of a word being broken.

Your word being given to others, and you giving your word to yourself. Tossed around like it doesn’t matter.

This happens time and time again, each and every moment of the day, all across the world.

Why is that?

Why do we allow ourselves to throw around ‘our word’ like confetti and not follow through?

“I promise, I’ll play with you in five minutes. Daddy just has a couple of emails to do. I’ll be finished work soon, then we’ll play. Go and get your iPad for a bit.”

45 minutes later and you’ve missed connecting with your child again.

It’s everywhere.

I have an admission to make … I’m a recovering ‘wordaholic’.

I used to throw it around all the time without much care as to whether I kept it or not. With myself and others. It got me into several problems in all areas of my life. That’s just the way I was. I thought it was normal.

“I’ll see you on Friday at 6pm, 100%, I’ll be there.”

I didn’t show up and then made up some lame excuse. A vivid and wildly exaggerated story as to why I didn’t keep my word.

“I’ll start saving soon, just need to get a few more paychecks under my belt first.”

I didn’t. Always living ‘hand to mouth’ because that’s just the way I was.

“No, I understand, you need your invoice paid. We’re just working out a few cash flow challenges but everything will be ok and you’ll be on the next payment run, next Monday.”

They weren’t on the payment run. We didn’t have a payment run. Ducking and diving … weaving and bobbing … looking for a couple of ‘deals’ so we could pay overdue suppliers.

I didn’t even know what the word integrity meant, really I didn’t. One of my old bosses had to explain what it meant many years ago because I’d never, ever been told, or learnt it previously.

Sounds so silly now, but it’s true. And, I’m not making myself wrong, I was ignorant to the ‘knock on’ effect of me not valuing my word.

How it would impact other people around me who I cared about — family and friends.

How it would impact my employees, customers, suppliers.

How it would impact my reputation and allow people to create stories about the kind of person I was.

How it would impact me. Deep down.

And this, for me, is where the initial shift had to occur. On my inside. I had to start by keeping my word to myself first.

The moment I started keeping my word everything changed.

If I said I was going to take on a particular task at a certain time I would do it vs. avoid it.

If I said I was going to go for a run tomorrow I’d go for a run tomorrow.

If I said I’d meet with someone I would.

This sounds so simple, and it is, but I found it really hard to start with. I had to build my awareness and slow down to see where I wasn’t keeping my word with myself, and it was everywhere!

I didn’t really know who I was or what I wanted to do. This void gave me nothing concrete to compare myself against apart from other people. Which is a recipe for competitiveness, powerlessness, depression, shame, guilt, etc — all the stuff that keeps people stuck. And, I was.

Once I got clarity on who I wanted to ‘be’ and how I wanted to show up in the world things became easier because I had a set of tools to help me measure my progress when it came to ‘word-keeping’.

A bespoke compass to raise my level of awareness about my choices.

I’m talking about values, purpose, vision, goals … the inner awareness and outer structure that guided me towards the right path, for me.

It’s really difficult to keep your word with others if you don’t start by keeping it with yourself first, almost impossible, actually.

If reading this, you’re someone who knows deep down that you’re using your word casually, without intention and throwing it around like confetti then realise that you can change.

You are far more than the labels you’ve put on yourself. Labels like:

“I’m a bit flighty. Always have been, don’t like to be tied down.”

“I’m always late for meetings, that’s just me.”

“Yeah, I know I said I would but … something came up …”

This behaviour is not who you are. You are far more than that if you slow down to connect with who you really want to be in the world and start coming from that place when using your word.

If you work on this area of your ‘being’ you’ll start to feel more centred, create better relationships with others (and yourself), be seen as a real leader who inspires people, and will notice a whole world of new opportunities aligned with your values start to arise (the ones you didn’t see earlier because you were rushing around like a demented chimpanzee trying to grab as many bananas as possible).

Where do you start?

Right now throughout your life, you most probably have a collection of ‘loose ends’ that you know you should really tie up but, for some reason, you’re choosing not to. These things are exactly where to start keeping your word.

Make a list of everything you can think of where you’ve broken your word to yourself and start picking them off one by one. Following through. Keeping your word. Running through the finish line.

Even if you do one a week, that’s 52 examples you’ll have by the end of the year of keeping your word with yourself.

Guess what happens?

You’re no longer that person who throws their word around without a care in the world, you’re the person that keeps their word.

Your word is your bond.

Your ‘inner integrity muscle’ becomes firm and strong!

Gone are the days when you’d break your word all the time and then rely on your charm to rescue the situation (which actually holds you back, because it takes away energy from creating something far more fulfiling in your life).

You’ll start to lead your life from the inside with just one small choice — to be your word.

And, the most wonderful thing is that nothing is stopping you make that choice today (apart from the person you ‘think’ you are).

You’re far more than that, I promise.

Love and wellness,

David.

“The greatness of a man is not how much wealth he acquires, but in his integrity and his ability to affect those around him positively.”
Bob Marley