Guest Post – The Power of Commitment

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It’s always a delight for us in this blog to draw upon the wisdom of our fellow partners, associates, and friends; this post is by Tony Phillips of The Coaching Approach, a business coach and facilitator, who shares his thoughts on the power of commitment.

I love this quote, and it applies as much to running and many other areas of life as it does to walking. Before I started my mile each day over 1,670 days ago, there were certain types of weather that I preferred to run in and I was far more likely to skip a day when weather conditions were not favourable. Does anyone else feel happier, more positive and inclined to be more adventurous on warm sunny days than you do on cold grey wet days, or is it just me? What would your boss think if you only turned up to work on sunny days or days when you were in a really positive mood? “Commitment is doing the thing you said you’d do, long after the mood you said it in has left you.”

Why is it that many of us are frightened of commitment? Is it because it feels like a trap imposed by someone else that we won’t be able to escape? We seem to have forgotten that we are the only ones who can commit ourselves. We do it of our own free will. We agree to jobs that have contracted hours. We agree to relationships or marriages. We choose to commit. We always have choice. Viktor Frankl in his seminal book, Man’s Search for Meaning talking about his experiences in Auschwitz said: “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

The strange thing is that when you do commit to something, once you’re over that first step, which is always the hardest (see last month’s column), not only is it not as bad as you expect, you also discover that there is freedom and power in commitment. Additionally, if you can keep your commitment going for around 66 days, you will discover that you have developed a habit, and it will be harder to stop than it will be to continue. Since I removed my option of allowing myself to miss days (note that I removed it, not someone else – the choice is always mine at any time to discontinue the experiment), I’ve grown to love running in pouring rain, strong wind, snow, cold and hot weather.

William Hutchison Murray, the mountaineer and writer, wrote: “Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too.

“A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favour all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way.”

I know this is true. I committed to running a mile each day and ended up with a column in a running magazine. Who knew that would happen? What will you commit to this month with your running or life?

Tony Phillips

The Coaching Approach



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