Episode 36 Ending Commitments, Breaking Promises 

March 24, 2023

Good morning to you from New York City. I say those words, good morning from New York City for two reasons. One is because I love hearing from listeners and learning where you’re tuning in from. I got a message yesterday from a woman in Minneapolis. I have no idea who she is or how she found me, but it was great to get that message. I’d love to hear from any of you on LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, wherever. DM me and let me know where you’re listening in. And I say good morning because I’m a morning bird. I’ve always been a person who wakes up early and does their best work in the morning. I always record these shows first thing in the morning.

I was just thinking about knowing when to stop because I was talking to my friend Fritz the other night. Fritz is the husband of my college roommate, Lisa. They’re my oldest New York City friends.  I’m lucky to be invited to their home for Sunday supper quite frequently. Over drinks before dinner, Fritz was telling me how great and freeing it was to stop doing something he had done for almost 20 years.  He’s the head usher at their church. He was telling me that it was something that his father always did. So, it’s a family tradition,  and something he took a lot of pride in and dedicated himself to it for many, many years.

It got me thinking about how important it is to stop sometimes. We make these commitments, step up to the plate and do the right thing, which brings its own joy, satisfaction and sense of pride. But it’s equally important to know when to stop – when to say I’ve done my part, I’ve made my contribution. Let somebody else have that opportunity to step up to the plate and to lead the effort or do whatever it may be.

It made me think about a commitment I had. I was on the Board of Directors of a wonderful nonprofit called Artolution.org. Check it out. It’s a nonprofit led by my friend Max Frieder and his partner Joel Artista. I’m still an Advisory Board member, but I’m no longer on the operational board where I served for several years. One day I realized I didn’t have to be a Board member forever. I could let somebody else step in. Then I’d get all up in my head and think, no, I don’t want to let them down or for anyone to that I don’t believe in the mission or have confidence in them.

I was telling myself the story that by stepping away I was going to let them down or send a negative signal, until it dawned on me that I had already made my contribution. I was there at a pivotal point in the organization and I was a key person that helped them think bigger and attract money and sponsors and take Artolution to the next level. I was a supporter, a cheerleader, a dedicated board member, and I was done. I had made my contribution and it was just this huge relief to say I’m going to give myself permission to step down.

It also gave me the opportunity to examine the story I was telling myself. Was it really true that they were going to think that I didn’t have the same level of care and interest in their projects? Of course the answer was no – that was simply the story I was spinning in my head. In fact after I stepped down, together with another board member, they got some great fresh energy on the board. People who brought that same level of passion and enthusiasm I had in the first couple of years.

So all of this has me thinking about commitments and promises and the stories we tell ourselves about them. Sometimes there comes a time when you’ve made your contribution and honored your commitment and it’s okay to step away.  There are times in our life when we break promises, promises to ourselves and promises to other people. That’s part of life.

So let’s bring this full circle, and let me ask you this. Where in your life have you been committed or honored your promises, where perhaps it’s time to give yourself a break and step away or move on and allow other people to step in? What are the stories you’re telling yourself about what will happen if you break a promise, or you renege on a commitment. It’s good to take a look at that.

A few weeks ago, my friend Max of Artolution spoke at Davos. He gave one of the best speeches. I left him a long love message telling him how happy I was for him,  how much I appreciated his speech, and how much I could see his growth. This morning I received a beautiful Artolution video from Max and I thought to myself, wow, he really does know that I care and support him. I simply show it in different ways now and that’s okay, too. There’s a time and place for everything. I guess that’s the point, right?  It’s good to examine the stories we’re telling ourselves about our commitments and promises.

I’ll leave you with that thought. That’s all for now. Until next time, from my heart to yours.

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Friends say I live my life out loud. That’s because I’m a curious, adventurous person and, as an appreciator, I simply love to share what lights me up. Consider this is your invitation into my fun, multi-faceted world.

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