An all too common problem we run into in life is a lack of action to back up the words of those we work and live with. You may think you’ve met someone who can help progress your work forward, only for these people to fall through on the word they gave you when they committed to helping you.
It sucks when someone says they’ll do something for you and they just leave you hanging. It’s happened to all of us. We place our trust in someone we believe to be reliable, who just doesn’t come through with what they promised.
You are your word. Especially as an entrepreneur or a young professional still in the early phase of building your business and/or career. Without as much experience to show for what you’ve accomplished, your word can make or break you in the eyes of those you work with.
This is a basic, but absolutely fundamental, pillar in business – doing what you say you’re going to do and sticking to your word.
Why is this important?
- Integrity. For a young professional looking to build a career, creating a trustworthy reputation is crucial. To be able to do this, you have to stay true to your word when you give it to others. Set these personal standards for yourself, and you’ll see more doors open and opportunities flourish for yourself because of it.
- Values. The way we act reflect our individual values. Honesty, integrity and staying true to your word each are necessary values to uphold in life. If you can’t motivate yourself to act in such a way, how can you expect others to hold these values any differently?
- Being timely, honest and following through on your word with actions will always build credibility for yourself. If you can prove to coworkers, mentors and anyone else you meet that they can count on you, they’ll think highly of you, which will benefit you in the long run.
- If you’re unable to do this, you’ll inevitably begin to lose the confidence and trust of your peers and coworkers. You don’t want to build a reputation of letting others down. Just as showing integrity will improve your credibility, letting others down will do the opposite. This is bad for your personal brand, bad for your business as an entrepreneur, and bad for your future career prospects.
- Most of all, this is important to show respect for the time and efforts of others. When you don’t value a commitment enough to act on your word, that’s disrespectful to the person counting on you to come through.
Of course, none of us mean to do this. We very seldom say yes to requests and opportunities thinking that we won’t follow through. But sometimes our best intentions are foiled. To avoid making this mistake in your career, here are some tips to avoid having that roll-your-eyes, she/he-is-never-going-to-get-that-done kind of reputation:
- Add reminders in your calendar. Schedule your commitments when you promise someone you’ll do something. Whether its personal acts for close friends and family members like agreeing to help your grandmother, or necessary parts of your job like completing a delivery, call when you say you’ll call and act when you say you’ll act.
- Communicate. It happens. Sometimes we just can’t deliver what we intended to, whether that be picking someone up or being late with a client deliverable, or anything else. If that happens, make sure you communicate to whomever it is and let them know the situation. They’ll understand and it’ll reflect better on you and your career prospects if you can communicate the issue rather than fall through without warning.
- Make a new commitment and stick to it. Once you’ve communicated the situation, make sure you provide a new commitment. And stick to that one. Just like you don’t want to fall through over-and-over without warning, it’s not much better to always have a bad excuse for falling through on your word.
- Golden Rule: Treat others as you wish to be treated. I’m not sure who said that originally but in my life, that would be my mother. Also, one of my mentors recently brought this point forward as a key discussion points during our last mentoring session together, and as simple a lesson as it is, it’s one we should never forget.
Our good intentions may not end well, but once a situations is over, it makes all the difference in the world to know you did all you could to make right what you did wrong.
It’s important. In fact, it’s priceless.