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The Hard Truth About Being Impeccable With Your Word

The first step to always keeping your word is being careful what you agree to.
The Hard Truth About Being Impeccable With Your Word
Image credit: 10'000 Hours | Getty Images
Guest Writer
Coach and founder of CEO of Your Life
4 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Have you ever said yes to something, then had second thoughts? I strongly believe in being impeccable in my word. When I commit to something, I do my best to follow through on promises I’ve made. It’s something I aim for in both my personal and professional life.

Recently, I made a commitment. I said yes, but, when it came time to follow through, I had doubts. I was interviewed on a radio show. When I was first approached to be on, I researched the host, who seemed very knowledgeable, and I said yes. Part of that agreement was that I would promote the interview to my newsletter subscribers afterwards.

Related: The 6 Questions I Ask Before I Say 'Yes' to Anything

The interview went well. We talked about the coaching industry, the role of a coach and techniques that can help you start taking real steps towards creating the life you truly want. (And by the way, that starts with uncovering what it is you actually want.) I was looking forward to sharing the interview.

And then I listened to it. Oh my goodness. The ads!

I know it’s about the interview and not the commercials around it, but these were just completely not me. Eerie, even! I won’t go into detail, but let’s just say that if I had heard the commercials before saying yes, my answer would have been different. There was nothing controversial, dangerous or hateful in them, but they were bizarre, aggressive and not reflective of who I am or the messaging I want to put out there. What would my subscribers think? Would I lose some of them? Would they lose respect for me or think I’d taken my business in a strange and very different direction?

What was I to do? I had made a commitment, and I try my best to live by Don Miguel Ruiz’s Four Agreements, one of which is to always be impeccable with your word. I realized that I had to honor my promise, despite my second thoughts.

Related: For This Entrepreneur, 'Grit' Means Knowing When to Say Yes

So I shared the interview, but I shared it honestly. I wrote a newsletter that told my subscribers what they would get from the interview, but also forewarned them about the ads. Then, I shared my lessons, because another tenet I aim to live by is to always find the lesson; to not see mistakes as mistakes, but as opportunities to grow.

Here are the lessons I shared:

  • You can’t control every circumstance. But you can control how you react to it. Those ads were not right for me. But being true to my word is an important value for me. Because of that, I opted to take the path that was aligned with my values and promoted the interview, as promised.
  • Do your research before committing to anything. Whether it’s a media opportunity, a partner, a job, a business proposition -- don’t be afraid to ask questions and get clarity. After all, it is your brand, your life, your reputation. Honor it!
  • You can’t always be impeccable with your word. This was the really hard truth that I learned. In this case, I chose to stand by my commitment. But what if the ads had been abusive or hateful, rather than simply bizarre? Sticking to my commitment would not have been a viable option. If it means being true to your core values, the hard truth is that there may be times when you have to go back on your word. Recognize that. And learn from it.

Related: The Painful Truth About Becoming a Successful Entrepreneur

Do you have trouble being impeccable with your word? Do you often find yourself saying “yes” or “no” then having second thoughts?

The root of the problem may be in understanding your core values. In my experience, being clear on my own core values and aiming to align all aspects of my life with them empowers me to make better decisions; decisions that are truly right for me. They also help guide me out of difficult situations and onto a path of growth. A path where I now always ask about ads before saying yes.

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