Courageous Self Commitment
I want to talk about self commitment. Last week I was reading, Girl Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis and she wrote about her commitment to quit drinking Diet Coke. She had spent her life making small and big commitments to herself and just never keeping them. So one day she decided that if she could commit to NOT drinking Diet Coke for a period of time, that she could retrain her brain to respect her self commitments.
It was the simplest yet most mind blowing concept I had heard in awhile. Of course it is not the first time that the concept was introduced to me. You have writers who tell you they committed to 500 words a day and that’s how they finish a book and that’s why they are a best selling author, you have my latest favorite example, Julia and Julia where this uninspired woman commits to making one recipe from Julia Child’s recipe book and blogging about it for 365 days and it transforms her. But, Rachel’s Diet Coke example is so simple—so mundane that it opened up something inside of me—possibility. The simplicity of quitting Diet Coke is so revolutionary. She isn’t telling you to RUN A MARATHON because that is crazy, she is simply saying, what if you did one squat? Just one? One a day for 30 days? Doesn’t that make you want to get up each morning and just do one squat? Of course it does, because it is simple and tangible and really not that far off from what you do right now in the morning, which is NO Squats, presumably.
I really want to take this a step further because there is something deeply and honestly courageous about self commitment. The pretty side of the self commitment story is how someone quits drinking Diet Coke, withstands the commitment and the withdrawal and then suddenly is a best selling author and public speaker. Well ok, of course that isn’t what happened to Rachel nor is that what she sells you in the book. However, there is a very dark period of time when you are “quitting Diet Coke” that is where you can sometimes starts to feel like you have lost your mind.
I call this the un-conditioning, not to be confused with “unconditional”. I am talking about the UNRAVELING of the learned behaviors that have led us to a path of no self commitments. For example, the conditioning of women to be nice and agreeable. If I, over the course of my lifetime, have been taught by society, by the female examples in my life and by the storybooks/movies that I watch, that I will be loved, accepted and have a sense of belonging IF I am nice, sweet, thoughtful, loving and agreeable then how do you think it would feel for me to try to stand up for myself? Seriously, think about that. And to take it one step further, if I have been conditioned to be helpful, available, reliable, dependable, how do you think it is going to feel for me to try to say no? Awful. It will feel awful. I know this, from personal experience.
So where does that leave us? We decide with our whole heart to do something for ourselves, to make a small and assumingely approachable change in our lives but half way in, or sometimes even days in, this very strong, emotional and arguably disturbing feeling shows up in the pit of our stomach and it whispers to us, “What are we doing? This is so freaking uncomfortable and NOT OK and I just don’t think it is right.”
Wow. I know that when those types of feelings and voices come up for me that I take them very seriously. Because who wouldn’t, right? That conviction is compelling. But that conviction, sometimes, and not all the time, but a lot of the time, is FEAR. And the fear is so powerful and so alarming and so CONVINCING that we walk to the fridge and we stand there knowing that our commitment is important and that we want to be on the other side of this thing, yet we pull out the Diet Coke and whisper back to the voice, “You’re right, it’s ok. I can quit Diet Coke tomorrow”.
And then tomorrow becomes next week and next week becomes next month and you get it—suddenly we are a year from the day that we said we would quit Diet Coke and we are receiving it in monthly shipments from Amazon.
The unraveling is a full time job. The un-conditioning is a personal battle in which you will fight for the rest of your life. And in moments of great triumph you will feel powerful. Because the truth is, when we keep our commitments to ourselves, when we decide that WE are important and valuable and WORTH committing to, the skies open up. One brave and conquered commitment leads to another and another and another and suddenly life looks and feels so different than day one when we said we would quit Diet Coke that we DO NOT EVEN RECOGNIZE that person or that place or that time or that feeling. We simply cannot imagine any longer being someone who drinks Diet Coke. But that does not come without the COMMITMENT TO THE COMMITMENT.
And oh it feels so good in the interim to go back to our comfortable and safe and easy conditioning. This place where less is demanded of us, where suffering is familiar, where putting others first feels really really good. But at what cost? What price are you willing to pay? Is it worth your life to drink one more Diet Coke? Is it worth your life to stay in that job that makes it hard to breathe? Is it worth your life to stay silent in the face of cruel and disrespectful behavior? I don’t know. Maybe it is.
I can’t answer that for you. Only YOU can choose to commit to the commitment you made with yourself. Whatever that is, however small, however daunting or simple. This is your life.
And as a coach it is my greatest honor to help you commit to your commitments. To find the space for you. To create, to evolve, to grow to challenge your conditioning. Coaching is this very sweet spot where I get to witness you coming alive. Whether that is you personally, a thing you are creating, a company you are starting or a team you are leading. Together we commit to your commitments.
So it is only fair that I also on this journey with you, commit to my commitments. In the many facets of who I am there is this person inside me who is a writer. I sometimes can hear the writing like a song in my heart, and it comes to me without much thought or preparation. However, it is also terrifying and vulnerable and NOT how I was conditioned. So today, on this blog post to the random loved ones and friends and strangers who will read this, I am making one small commitment to the writer inside of me. Every day, until the end of 2018, I will spend 15 minutes writing. Every day. And every day I will share here on this blog that 15 minutes of writing. It is my Julia and Julia, it is my Diet Coke, it is my self commitment. I know that it will lead to the next self commitment, and the next and the next. And then one day, a year from now I will wake up a different person, in a different place with a stronger voice and more conviction, because that is what self commitment allows.
What are you committing to for yourself today? I cannot wait to hear all about it!
And if you are looking for a partner to help you stay committed lets chat. It would be my greatest honor to help you come alive.
I will see you all here tomorrow, for day two of my small, yet giant, self commitment.