I just completed the Red Ribbon Ride (www.redribbonride.org) this past weekend - a four-day, 300-mile bike ride for the fight against HIV/AIDS. The four hundred plus riders and crew members caused miracles this weekend through teamwork, fortitude, and love. This incredible feat is an example of what my colleague, Sylvia Lane, encouraged last week in her blog Life Benefits From Death Experiences: no longer putting things off that we are committed to and instead picking one thing and really going after it.
I did this with the Red Ribbon Ride. I spoke it into existence and the “how” worked itself out.
I spoke the Red Ribbon Ride into existence in a staff training I was co-leading in Fort Worth, TX in January. We were exploring integrity, honoring your word, and keeping the commitments we make to others. My friend had asked me to ride in the 2009 Red Ribbon Ride earlier that winter, and when he did, I laughed out loud! I didn’t own a bike, I hadn’t been on a bike for over three years, and I had a story that my knees wouldn’t endure it (although I run!). Since he asked, though, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I even secretly tried a spin class at the gym and then said it out loud to my partner, Jennifer, that I was contemplating this ride. But when I said it in front of forty plus people in the discussion about keeping our word, I knew I was doing it. Then I had to go home and figure out to make it happen.
That’s where most of us get stopped in making commitments. I am certain that when you read Sylvia’s blog last week, a list of commitments and things you want to accomplish in your life and in your business popped into your head. But then, like most of us, the little voice in our head kicks in and starts arguing all the reasons we can’t do it. Some of the reasons are even valid. I didn’t own a bike. I hadn’t ridden in over three years. My “busy season” of travel is May and June and the ride was in July. However, when you start sharing your commitments and talking to other people about them, something new becomes possible. Others will have new ideas and insight about how to fulfill on your commitments and the pieces start to fall into place. I borrowed a bike from a friend of mine who is pregnant so wouldn’t be using it this summer. My husband and kids were so excited about the prospect of me riding 300 miles that they encouraged me to ride any chance I could. You have people around you like that, too, who will help make your commitments happen.
What have you been wanting to accomplish in your business but haven’t said out loud to anyone (or maybe whispered in confidence to one single person)? Tell your partners and your leadership team. Don’t worry about the “how.” Don’t let that stop you. Once you tell others and really commit to it, then you’ll work out the how by making a plan of what you need to do to get it done. Those you told will support you, help you work through the roadblocks, and inspire you when you run out of steam and “don’t feel like it anymore.” It’s accountability at its finest. And you can do this for both professional and personal commitments, too.
I cannot describe the profound feeling of pride, gratitude, and accomplishment I feel in completing the Red Ribbon Ride. Knowing I made a real difference and that I didn’t stop – and believe me there were moments I wanted to! – is a real accomplishment. If I can do it for the ride, I can do it anywhere, for anything. You can, too, and you’ll see that you have if you made the list of accomplishments Sylvia suggested making. In your list of accomplishments, you probably would see that you didn’t know how you were going accomplish most of them. You just knew you were committed to it. That’s all it takes - commit to something, speak it into existence, and then create and work your plan. Be accountable to those you shared it with by keeping them posted on your progress and admitting when you are stopped. If you let others participate in the journey with you, it’s much easier, more fun, and the likelihood of success becomes inevitable.
What commitment do you have that you’ll speak into existence today? Don’t let yourself be stopped by the “how” and then live with the question, “What if…” Share your commitment and then work it out. You can begin speaking the one commitment into existence by posting a comment to this blog to share it with us! We might even have some ideas about how to get it done!
P.S. I’m taking my husband sky-diving on Sunday for his birthday because that’s been on his list for some time. Shhhh, don’t tell him, it’s a surprise! What will you do toward your life’s goals starting this weekend?