Public commitments

Are a bad idea. At least for me. And I’m quite unsure why I despise them. I know they work. For most people. Or at least the ones who seem to be making them. Countless folks make public commitments only to trail off after some time. Thanks for the public’s short-term memory, the world doesn’t end for these “commitment defaulters.” Both you and I know, that’s quite close to the truth unlike what motivational gurus might want us to believe in.

Years ago Stephen Covey along with the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People shared the delightfully simple yet profoundly beautiful concept of Public and Private Victories. It seems, however, that we’ve forgotten about the actual framework that contained these 7 habits!

Here’s a refresher:

Private victories are personal and relate to you as an individual person. [WikiBooks]

Public victory is the success with others in teams and in relationships in general. They are shared victories where you help and are helped by other people. [WikiBooks]

And here’s the most important point: Public victories are built on the private victories of the first three habits. To be publicly successful in a deep or real way, you should first build the first three habits into your character. To try to do things another way is building on a false foundation and will bring about only short-term results. [WikiBooks]

Back to my concern — although public commitments aren’t exactly public victories, the whole point of committing to the public is to lead somewhere. You achieving that goal. Isn’t that correct? Would it make any sense to make a public commitment before you start working on yourself? Yes, I understand, it can be an impetus to something great! More power to you!

My focus, however, would be getting good first. Working on myself to achieve those private victories would set the ball rolling and lead me to a place where I can confidently say, “it’s time for me to jump and grow my wings on the way.” And that’s just the right time for me to make a public commitment. Notwithstanding, the unnecessary pressure you’re exposing yourself to. It’s not for everyone and the worst is when you fail on your commitments rendering your sincere efforts as a “publicity stunt” than a genuine effort to change.

If you have a genuine desire to change, I would highly encourage you to start small and with your closest supports. Make them your stakeholders for the change that you seek to develop for yourself. And always remember, public victories are built on the private victories.

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