Reliability. Dependability. Keeping your word. Promise-keeping. These are the words that define trust. If people cannot rely on you, know you are dependable, believe you will keep your word, or count on you to keep your promises, they cannot trust you to show up or complete what you commit to. But what about the times when a potential employer, client, or customer’s expectations don’t match your own?
I believe expectation is the greatest culprit behind conflict—due to one of two factors.
- An expectation is set and not met.
- An expectation is clearly set and met, but appreciation is not expressed.
If you want to achieve and maintain any dream, it’s important to note that a perception of promise-keeping is usually behind unmet expectations. You can see how this can cause a cascade or domino effect, leading to relationship breakdowns while undermining our dream tending goals.
Years ago, I learned an ancient proverb that offers a secret to help us avoid potentially dream destroying scenarios when it comes to expectation. It’s insanely simple yet potently powerful, and will set you apart from most people today.
My paraphrase of Ecclesiastes 5:5 from the Bible is this, “It’s better not to make a promise than to make one and not fulfill it.”
Most translations of this passage use vow or covenant in place of the word promise, but in today’s culture, we are more familiar with the term promise. And whether you use the word promise or not, if you tell someone you are going to do something, they have a reasonable expectation to believe you will follow through. However, many people today, barely pay attention to the words flying out of their own mouths—making them appear untruthful and untrustworthy.
Set standards for returning calls, emails, and text messages, especially regarding commitments you’ve made. One of the great dream-tending destroyers comes from lack of communication. If we aren’t careful, we can mindlessly break promises, making others less inclined to join, support, or partner with us, as we go about tending our dreams.
Subliminal ways we can break promises:
- Do you ever tell people you will call them back in a few minutes, when they are lucky if they hear from you within 48 hours—if ever at all?
- Have you ever told someone you would take them somewhere or would do something with them, without acting on it?
- Have you ever said yes to participating in, working on, or being a part of something, but never really showed up?
- Do you ever avoid a person because you forgot to do something you agreed to?
- Are you habitually saying, “I’m sorry,” because you failed to measure up in the moment?
Broken promises leave a trail of damaged dreams behind.
Our daily habits need to set us up for success, not drag us down to failure. If people believe in us, they will usually believe in our dreams. Are you a solid promise-keeper? Or do you need to commit yourself to changing habits, so your word becomes something others can count on?
This episode’s Dream Tending Tips:
- Start paying attention to what you say. How often are you telling someone you will do something (promising), and not acting on your own words?
- Realize it’s okay to say no, and that it’s actually more respectable than saying yes and not following through.
- Resolve to be on time, every time.
- When you commit to a job, challenge yourself to show up and get right to work, versus playing or procrastinating.
- Finish what you start—a half completed job is a non completed job.
- Make it your mission never to miss another deadline.
- Think about how you feel when someone tells you they will do something, yet fail to follow through. That frustration, irritation, and anger you feel is how someone else feels about you, when the tables are turned and you aren’t dependable.
- Reliable comes from the root rely upon. When you tell someone you will deliver, they have a reasonable expectation that they can rely upon you to take care of whatever you promised—whether you used that exact term or not.
- Lack of communication or avoidance does not offer an out when you fail to follow through. None of us are perfect, so if you mess up, be willing to fess up, but with determination not to make the same mistake again.
Remember, it’s never too late to make a fresh start with fresh faith. Create a new habit of promise-keeping, and not only will your faith in yourself be strengthened, but it will increase in the eyes of others, as well.
Grab the Tending Your Dreams’ free giveaways and discounts from every episode. Go to tendyourdreams.com/freebie23 for your gift, just for tuning in. Don’t forget our product discount—20% off on all autographed books. Enter the coupon code TYD20 to snatch your deal.
Until next time, don’t forget to T.E.N.D. your dreams: Take courage. Excel daily. Never stop believing. Dare to dream bigger.
Host Anita Agers Brooks can be found on various social media platforms, and you can discover additional dream tending tips at tendyourdreams.com. Contact her at [email protected]