“What are you doing tonight?”
“I don’t know, why?”
“Well, I thought you could help me with…”
“Oh, I forgot I have to bathe the dog tonight, sorry.”
What is it about commitment that makes us tense up? Is it the fear of having to actually do what you say you are going to do? In my Entrepreneurs Organization, I usually end up debating the differences between integrity and honesty. My stance is that you can have integrity without being honest. If you tell me that you are going to rob a bank, and then you rob a bank, I think you have integrity. You did what you said you were going to do. But bank robbing? Not really an honest day’s work, huh?
I think the fear of commitment relates to having to go back on your word. We have all committed to something that we didn’t really commit to, haven’t we? Those periphery friends that we say that we will call and get together for lunch. Those second tier relatives that we swear we won’t wait until the next wedding or funeral to stay in touch with. Yeah, I am guilty of both of those. But overcoming fear of commitment is a big deal. It means that the commitment is something bigger than just words. It means that you care that someone will judge your integrity if you fail to do what you said you would do.
Patrick Lencioni thinks it is one of the dysfunctions of a team. I know that when I feel like I am part of a team, something bigger than me that I believe in, then I have to overcome my fear of failure. In essence, I have to overcome my fear of committing to something because, if I said I was going to do it, and if I am a good teammate, I better do it. If not, I have failed my commitment. Like writing weekly blogs. Sometimes I wish I didn’t say I was going to do it. But since my team is holding me accountable to my word, here it is.