“. . . But I have promises to keep, / And miles to go before I sleep, / And miles to go before I sleep.” – Robert Frost, from “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening”
Two stories about myself, one good, the other not so good: A friend once came to see me distraught that he had lost his job. What would he do, he begged? My advice was that he go back to work doing something whether for pay or not, do volunteer work if necessary. He has been working ever since. . . . So, good for me for my sage advice, and even more so good for him for following it. But, then recently a client appeared in my office for an appointment only to discover that I had failed to put it on my calendar and had instead scheduled another client. Oops, not so good! It was an honest mistake you might say, but the consequences are nonetheless damaging; for to my client – and me as well – my little blunder represented a promise broken thus forever diminishing my trustworthiness in the eyes of that particular client.
In this time of financial turmoil, banks teetering from scandals and trading losses, great cities and great nations on the brink of financial collapse, high unemployment and an unpredictable future there is a great economic and social opportunity right under our noses. The opportunity belongs to those who work hard and those who keep their promises. Why does it belong to them? Because there is huge demand and short supply of those who do. Yes, many of us – maybe most – work hard when we are employed in our chosen field with good pay and benefits. But how hard are we willing to work when we are out of work, to roll up our sleeves and help someone out with little or no pay? The opportunity is that work begets work, and those who work regardless will be the first to gain employment or get promoted.
So what about keeping promises? Someone asked recently how Tee and I have maintained a successful marriage for over forty years. The answer? We have kept our promises. Apply that principle to anything – ANYTHING – and you will find that long term success is in direct proportion to simply doing what we say we’re going to do.
Such wise words to live by, “I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep.”