Are You Committed or Just Involved? Here's Why 'Commitment Mentality' Is Essential for Long-Term Success. Which category do you fall into? It makes all the difference.

By Jarrett Preston

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Long-term success requires a specific mindset that supports you in taking the actions necessary to accomplish the goals you set for yourself. The truth is, it's not enough to believe that you can do something. Being capable is one part of the equation. The other part is your commitment to the goal and the action steps to get there.

If you're not fully committed to the process of achieving your goals, you either won't reach them or it will take far longer than necessary (this is stated in studies over and over again). The challenge is that some people confuse being involved with being committed, and there's a big difference between how these two words play out in life.

As a former Marine, the level and application of commitment are extreme, but they deliver extreme results. The level of commitment to the task will outweigh almost any other factor: size, strength and experience. This works the same in the business world. If two people get in a ring for combat, I'd bet on the one who is the most committed to victory. The most committed party, in my experience, will prevail 99% of the time.

I learned this in my time as a Marine because the system intentionally washes out "involvement mentality" — that part of you that leaves room for failure. Once you go through basic training, it's gone. In its place is "commitment mentality," which says you work until the goal is accomplished. This is a powerful mental switch.

This is why former military officers are overrepresented as CEOs of Fortune 500 companies (and why those companies regularly have higher rates of performance). Sustainable success is about mastering your mindset and holding yourself accountable — releasing involvement and learning how to activate your commitment mentality.

Related: If You Want Great Results, You Need to Be Committed

Getting committed instead of involved

Commitment is the fixity of purpose binding oneself intellectually and emotionally to a given task. That is the secret to success in any endeavor because it's a critical whole mental, emotional and physical devotion to the objective.

The reason this is so effective is because you're not simply setting your mind to something and moving forward. Your mind is only one part of you. To be committed, you need to enroll your emotions so that your body can carry out the necessary steps even when it's challenging. Without the emotional component (or worse, with a negative emotional state attached), you will resist, procrastinate and struggle to follow through in a timely manner.

When you're involved in something, instead of committed, you're taking the actions and being involved in the project or task — but you're not emotionally invested. Think about that meeting that you don't really want to go to, but feel you have to. You might accidentally show up five minutes late or involuntarily stop listening halfway through, and it's because this meeting is not a whole-state priority.

Your ability to achieve with the utmost integrity, discipline and optimization is dependent on your commitment, not your involvement.

Related: How a Personal Commitment Helps Your Business Grow

Commitment makes you a better, more reliable leader

People instinctively follow leaders who make them feel safe and come across as stable. The way commitment shows up in your actions — being fully present, knocking out tasks, optimizing the process, etc. — gives people the subconscious signal that you are a leader. True commitment also increases self-trust, confidence and satisfaction, making it easier to get more done.

This is part of how you lead from the front — or leading yourself first. It's in leading from the front with authenticity, kindness and a relentless commitment to the goals of our partners, our clients, our team and self that has created the most significant achievements of my career.

When you're in business, especially a service-based business, it's not about just your goals anymore. You have to consider the goals of your clients, partners and team and be just as committed to those goals as you are to your own. That means being emotionally connected to the outcomes you provide.

The deeper your commitment, the more you think and act differently.

Related: Why Mindset Mastery Is Vital to Your Success

Evaluating on the front end

When you are committed, whether that be in business or your personal life, it means that you do what you say you're going to do. You move heaven and earth to honor your commitments. When you become a person that habitually does what you say you're going to do, it causes you to evaluate much more deeply and carefully in advance so that you don't commit to the wrong things.

And let's be clear, people who aren't committed aren't necessarily bad people. It's more of an indication of future performance than anything else. People miss or ignore commitments all the time, and doing so doesn't necessarily speak to the person's quality of character. But what it does represent is someone's ability to depend on your word. In business, your word needs to be impeccable in order to lead powerfully and create the highest rate of success possible.

When you learn to evaluate a task, project or situation appropriately before getting into it, then you have an easier time making commitments that you keep. Before making a commitment, you learn to see the possible holes, pitfalls and challenges that can crop up and account for them in your estimations. That is an entirely different mindset orientation to simply being involved and trying your best.

Consider these questions before making a commitment to properly assess the situation:

  • Where are you?

  • Where are you headed?

  • What are the necessary actions that need to occur to accomplish the mission?

  • What are the possible incidentals that you could encounter?

  • Are there any hidden costs associated with those potential issues?

Once you teach yourself how to think this way, your ability to be fully committed, honor those commitments and become a strong leader creates the foundation for long-term success.

Jarrett Preston

Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor

CEO of Idoneus, a leading blockchain-based asset trading platform.

Jarrett Preston is the author of the bestselling book, “Billions Under Pressure: The Art and Science of Creating, Exchanging and Protecting Value”, CEO of Idoneus, a philanthropist, and Veteran of the US Marine Corps.

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