You are a Promise!
There is no limit to the scale of the promises you can make if you have the right conversations.
The question is are you having the right conversations?
Do you know every morning you wake up as a promise. And guess what? Chances are you have never thought of yourself as a promise.
So today, I am going to make a bold claim here:
Your self-esteem has a great deal to do with the way you have honored the promise that you are to yourself.
If you have made big promises and gone after them with complete intention to achieve the outcomes promised, then notwithstanding whether or not you achieved the result, I suspect you have high self-esteem. And the opposite is true too. There are people in the world (lots and lots of them) who simply show up in their lives and offices and go about doing the routine and mundane tasks that are required of them ignoring the promise they are to themselves.
As humans, we were created to be unstoppable. And, I have evidence of this in my home. My wife and I recently became parents of gorgeous twins who are now 16 weeks old. These twins were born premature, but have been unstoppable from the time of their birth (actually, from the time they were conceived!). I am seeing them grow week after week. First they would not recognize us, now they do; earlier, they could not hold their necks straight, now they do.
As they grow older, they will first learn to turn while lying down. Once they have turned and come on their stomachs, they will not be able to go back to their earlier position of lying on their back. They will yell for help and one of us will have to straighten them. But, they will not learn from this ‘mistake’ (thank God!!!) – they will do the same thing again and again and again, till they learn to turn back on their own.
And then, they will learn to sit up, and then crawl. While crawling, they will fall many number of times, hurt themselves, yet not stop. Eventually, they will master crawling. Again thankfully, that will not be enough for them.
They will want to learn to walk, run, cycle, swim, etc., etc. And each time, they will fall many number of times and hurt themselves. Yet, will not give up.
My kids are a promise – a promise that they will stand up and learn to walk – irrespective of the number of times they fall in the process of this learning.
It is interesting that as we grow older, we think we become smarter and this smartness goes against us. We start to attribute reason and make decisions that don’t help us. If we fall (read fail), we give ourselves such convincing reasons for not attempting again.
In a workshop that I conducted recently for a large multinational organization, there was a practice that I asked the participants to do first thing in the morning of day 3. A senior Manager in this organization could not complete the practice. He ‘decided’ that he was ‘slow’ and hence he could not complete the practice.
To me, he did not seem slow at all – he was active in the conversations during the program. It was clear that the other participants had high regard for him, and his achievements.
However, it was evident that he believed completely that he was ‘slow’, and him being slow was the reason for not completing the practice. My guess is that the practice was not completed because subconsciously he was proving himself to be right – that he was ‘slow’.
And according to him because he “is” slow, he does not make big promises.
I claim that for you to grow, you need to have a promise that is bigger than the last one you made. It is same like it is for children. When my twins learn to crawl, they will be a promise for walking. And irrespective of the number of failures, they will continue to try to walk – till they learn to walk.
You need bigger promises for your own sake; your family needs you to make bigger promises; your organization needs bigger promises and the world needs bigger promises!
Are you ready to do so?
Sameer Dua, Founder Director, Institute for Generative Leadership, India.