Thursday, May 21, 2015

Keeping Your Commitments

© <a href="">roibul</a> | <a href=""></a> - <a href="">Wooden Stakes Photo</a>
Making a commitment is similar to pounding a stake in the ground and taking a stand for something you firmly believe in and value. You vow to take action and follow through on your promise. 

In life, people make commitments to the ones they love by their actions:

* The husband who supports his wife while she endures chemotherapy.

* The wife who stays in a marriage even though her husband is an alcoholic.

* The single parent who remains committed to being the best parent in raising her children.

I was inspired to write about “keeping your commitments” as I prepared a presentation for our Toastmasters group.  Toastmasters is an organization which helps people develop their communication and leadership skills in a no-pressure, supportive, and safe environment.  The presentation about “Keeping Your Commitment” speaks about the importance of being faithful to the Toastmaster’s Promise.  When we make any commitment or promise, we vow to be responsible and dedicated to someone or something.

What does commitment mean to you?  Think seriously about your commitment to your spouse, family, employer, community, church or volunteer organizations.  Are you committed to support your environment or make the world a better place?  Now let’s switch gears, “What is the commitment to your financial well-being?”

Commitments: Ones that are fulfilled; ones that aren’t; ones that should be.
You may have underlying commitments without being aware that you have them.  You commit to earning money to pay the bills and support your family’s lifestyle.  You voluntarily fulfill your obligation because you see your role as the breadwinner.

Quite often it’s easier to keep your promise to someone else rather than to yourself. You know in your heart when you broke the promise to your goals and dreams, the times when you didn’t stick to your savings plan by spending more than you intended.  You sent your bank account spiraling into a negative territory or your credit card balance soaring.  You fell short of your commitment.

Then there are the commitments which are only thought about but haven’t been fulfilled.  These are the ones which you tell yourself, “Someday, I will.”   You may only see these commitments as things on your to-do list but they have far reaching consequences if they remain incomplete.   Click here to take a peek at the list, Ten Financial Items Every Canadian Should Have.  

These commitments mean protecting your family and you by:

·        Reviewing and updating your Will, Power of Attorney and Health Care Directive to ensure the information fulfills your wishes in the event of an untimely death or illness.  If you don’t have these documents, then you are strongly encouraged to make the commitment to contact an estate planner or a lawyer.

·        Reviewing your current life and disability insurance needs.  Have you done everything in your power to protect your family in the event of a sickness or death?  Make the commitment to check your coverage offered by your employer or insurance company.

·        Developing a financial plan so you know exactly where you are headed financially.  Committing to the plan ensures you are headed down the path to successfully completing your goals and dreams.

Coaching Your Way to Success

As a financial planner, I am curious why people remain unwilling to fulfill financial commitments.  Since I will not leave you stranded, I am offering to coach you to follow through with your commitments.  Once you determine the real “problem, issue or concern”, go the extra step and answer these straightforward questions which Thomas G. Crane presents in his book, The Heart of Coaching.  Behind each question is an underlying question to help understand its importance.   

     1.  What are you trying to achieve? {This casts vision}.

     2.  Why is this important to you? {This identifies priority}.

     3.  What have you tried so far? {This represents accountability}.

     4.  How has it worked/not worked? {This encourages reflectiveness}.

     5.  What options do you see going forward? {This develops creativity}.

     6.  What input would you like from me? {This shows openness}.

     7.  What is your “go forward” plan? {This initiates planning}.

     8.  How can I support you? {This creates a partnership.}

Listen to the whispers speaking to you.  Listen to the tiny voice inside your head saying, “It’s time to do something.”  Devise action steps:  pick up the phone; make the appointment; do the homework; get it done.  By doing so, you are putting a stake in the ground and keeping your commitments.

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