“C” – Commitment. From the Seth Godin ABC book for grownups.” “Commitment is the only thing that gets you through the chasm….Commitment is risky because if you fail, it’s on you.” Those are two very important characteristics of commitment. Commitment is necessary to accomplish anything worthwhile in life. We all know this, but there are still so many instances when we refuse to make commitments. Some are more commitment-phobic than others. I don’t necessarily mean guys afraid to commit to a girl in marriage, I mean more from a getting things done perspective. Moving from here to there. Becoming a better person. Making a better world.
Jim Collins, is an internationally recognized and respected business guru. In one of his many books, “Good to Great”, he researched what characteristics were present in companies that were able to make the transition from good to great. His detailed research led him to identify two characteristics, that are always present in what he calls “Level 5 Leaders” – those who are capability of leading an organization from good to great.
The two characteristics are: deep, person humility and intense, professional will. Intense professional will is all about commitments. The cause, the vision, is so compelling, that one must commit to it. The level of commitment demanded is intense, all-out, nothing left on the field. I believe that one of the biggest factors preventing most people from making those fierce commitments on a regular basis is this – if you fail, it’s on you.
I have met many people, professionally and socially, who are more concerned with “not failing” then they are with taking a risk on something great. Why is the desire to not fail, so much greater than the desire to success in these cases? Well, some people say it’s fear. That might be a small part of it, but I believe there is much more to it than that.
I believe the largest contributing factor to lack of commitment in anything is that the passion for self – self-interest and self-preservation, is greater than the passion for the cause / vision to be committed to. I believe here are two main reasons for this – Either the person is too self-focused, or, does not have a compelling enough cause / vision to risk failure for.
When we find ourselves falling into the first category, we need to get over ourselves. We should never be too important to be wrong or too important to fail. We should never allow our desire to save-face rob us of opportunities to change our world. When we find ourselves without a compelling enough cause, there are two possibilities.
One, we have failed to catch the vision for the cause. It’s really there, we just haven’t dug deep enough, or allowed ourselves to relate to the outcome, or lack of outcome at a personal enough level. Two, we just need a better cause, and more motivating vision. Exciting visions are always about benefiting others rather than ourselves. We need to surround ourselves with “others-focused” peers, mentors and leaders. We need to join forces with those making a difference in the world, take up their cause, and extend it, grow it.
If you find yourself not making commitments, check yourself, check your vision, and find hangout who are fiercely committed to compelling causes!