On Sunday I made a promise, it went like this:
On my honour I promise that I will do my best, to do my duty to God and to the queen, to help other people and to keep the Scout Law.
Yes, I became a Scout. Well, a Scout leader, to be more precise.
However, this promise has been on my mind ever since. And what it brings to my mind is how easy it is to make promises but also how easy it is not to keep them.
So let me tell you a quick story:
Imagine you're organising a party. You invite a whole bunch of people, say 30, and they've all promised to be there. On the night only 18 of them turn up. How does that make you feel? What does it make you think of the promises of those who didn't come?
The point of the story is simply about how much you let someone down when you say you'll do something and then don't.
And it really hacks me off when someone in business says they'll turn up to something and then just doesn't. It becomes obvious that they don't value you and don't care about their own reputation.
You see, I'm a big believer in doing your upmost to keep your word. Far too often over the years I've not kept my promises, I've said I'll do things (or not do things) and then either forgot what I'd said or, worse still, ignored it. Not great really.
These days I'm far more careful about what I say I'll do. I don't avoid making promises altogether but I always try and make sure I can remember what I've said (usually by writing it down) or just simply say no.
And this has had an affect on how people view me and what I'm about. Most of those who know me will know that it'd be a rare occasion if I said I'd be somewhere and then didn't turn up. In fact, I had to cancel my attendance at a meeting a few weeks ago due to circumstances beyond my control. It still made me feel bad, I felt as though I'd let someone down. Even though it wasn't vital for me to be at the meeting, I'd said I would be there and that was enough for me to think I'd broken a promise.
I'm not, for one minute, saying that I always get it right (and plenty of folks would vouch for that). I still forget stuff and don't do things I'd said. But that is becoming less and less. It's a work in progress but I'm more aware of keeping a note of what I said I'd do.
But the point of this post is this: When you become know as someone who keeps their word you're viewed as someone who is honest and trustworthy.
You could be the most dishonest person around but if you keep your word then you'll be percieved as trustworthy.
And guess what type of person most people would rather spend time with or do business with?
You've got it: the honest and trustworthy ones.