On the Path
We all want more business or more votes.
So in the beginning we do what everyone does – we make promises.
Most of these are well intentioned (we want to please). They are beliefs made with conviction.
But sometimes as time goes on we feel we need to stretch to get that client, to get that vote and, as a result, we start to stretch. We make bigger promises.
We aren’t really lying. We hope we can keep these promises. But we begin to know in our heart that the probability of our keeping the promise begins to drop. Instead of 100% sure or even 50/50 we are now throwing “hail Mary” passes for touchdowns.
In the short term nothing happens. The people who put their faith in us usually give us a break “it’s not our fault” they say. They’ll blame it on the system, or some event, or whatever.
But eventually that will change. People will come to lose their faith in you, the system, and the product and once this starts to roll down hill it is extremely tough to change the momentum.
Before this string of events happens do everything you can to not get caught up in this thread. Just be honest with your clients, your voters, and yourself.
You must know you will lose business and votes to those who will continue to promise everything and hope not to get caught or discovered. But to act this way is to eventually lose who you are and possibly your reputation and even your soul.
The good news is that you can usually outwork these people. They are used to their promises buying them so much credibility that they often fail to grind it out to actually solve the problem.
For myself, over the years, I have come to say simply “I will do my best”. Those that know me will know I mean it and how hard I will work to achieve it. For those people not satisfied by this phrase I just don’t end up with them as clients – and that has become quite all right with me.
I have also found that acting this way has provided me with greater internal strength and peace. I am not going to say I am anywhere close to perfect but I find myself much happier when give my word only when I have a solid chance of keeping it.