Chapter 9

Interest versus Commitment

Commitments are a powerful part of the 12 Week Year. An ability to make and keep commitments improves results, builds trust, and fosters high-performance teams, yet many of us avoid making commitments, and worse yet, we often break them when the going gets tough. To be truly great at what we do, we have to become better at keeping our promises.

“Commitment is an act, not a word.”
—Jean-Paul Sartre

There is an old anecdote about commitments involving a chicken and a pig at breakfast time. The chicken has contributed the egg and is therefore merely interested in the breakfast; the pig, however, contributes the bacon, and is thus completely committed. It’s a humorous story, but ultimately paints a negative picture of commitment. In reality, kept commitments benefit both parties involved by improving relationships, strengthening integrity, and building self-confidence. Commitments are powerful and, oftentimes, life changing.

I’m sure you can recall a time when you were determined to accomplish something meaningful and you were willing to do whatever it took to make it happen. One of the most powerful commitments that I have ever made was to my father. It was the summer after my first year of college and I remember the conversation like it was yesterday. The two of us were working in his garden, talking about my freshman year. It quickly became apparent to me during that conversation that my father and I had different perspectives on the purpose ...

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