It's time to mind the commitment gap

Find them, and fix them

At this point in the year, it’s early enough that some of us are still refining action plans toward our goals, and it’s also far enough into the year that some of us may be wondering why we haven’t achieved anything yet. That’s why this is perfect time to do a little self-assessment about our commitment.

Achieving our utmost potential depends on complete commitment. That means being ALL IN beyond the statement of what we want to achieve, and even beyond the action plans we lay out. And it’s that “other stuff” that we want to check in on. We want to see whether and how we might be inadvertently sabotaging ourselves by being out of alignment with our commitment at levels beneath the surface.

I’m sharing this with you because what I see all too often (and what, quite frankly, I have done myself) is that we state our goal, commit to it intellectually, come up with a blue-sky action plan, and then go about our business as usual…thinking the same thoughts, engaging in the same conversations about what never changes, not doing the things that will bring about real change, and then feeling like crap because we’re not where we want to be.

That’s when we, with our precious goals, fall into what I call commitment gaps.

Some fictitious examples may help to expose some common commitment gaps. See if you can spot them.

  • Your colleague has told you her goal is to be promoted into a bigger role where she can “fully utilize and be recognized for all of her talents.” She also regularly boasts about how she half-asses her projects because her boss “doesn’t value her work anyway,” and that she feels taken advantage of if she puts forth too much effort.
  • A successful corporate Sr. Director friend of yours isn’t excited about his job anymore. He eagerly and in great detail talks about starting a business on the side which he eventually would make his full time gig. Every weekend this friend calls you to play golf, and he spends his evenings watching Netflix originals because he claims he’s tired.  
  • Your fast-rising, high achieving brother-in-law told you last month that this is going to be the year he will dial back his focus on work so he doesn’t become “that guy.” Yet every time you see him at a family gathering he only talks about his frantic, harrowing work life that doesn’t allow him to get to his kids’ swim meets or stay connected with his wife.

Each of these scenarios illustrates all forms of commitment gaps—thinking, feeling and doing. All of which many of us also exhibit in our own goal pursuit. Ugh! Scary!

But there’s good news here. With awareness and deliberate effort all of these gaps can be closed. The path to success can be smoothed. Whether in refining the goal, reaffirming priorities, shifting feelings, changing perception, or creating a more detailed action plan all of these hypothetical people can create meaningful success.  

Real, solid commitment comes when everything we say, do, think, and feel is aligned with what we intend to achieve. Real commitment happens when we get clear on the hidden ways that we persist in undermining our potential (but we don’t realize it), and when we put forth the effort stop it.

As long as our actions, thoughts, and feelings are incongruent with a goal that we’ve created those commitment gaps will remain. And not surprisingly, our success and fulfillment from our effort will reflect that.

So please, do mind the gaps. Find yours. Mend them. Ensure that this year you achieve all that you’re capable of!

Categories: Business Insights, Human Resources