I believe that the only thing you can count on, the only true measure of your worth, is your word. When you give your word, when you lay it out, there is no turning back. There is no changing your mind. And there is no getting out of it. When I started Studio Self, I knew I wanted to build a business where I was known for mindfully giving and keeping my word.
Last week, I had coffee with a Fintech founder, who asked about the kind of press coverage I guarantee.
I was perfectly happy to say that press coverage is an outcome that I cannot 100% control. I explained that I could promise to write a compelling story, build a strong media brand, research the right people she should talk to, and put in the work to tell her story to the world, but that was where my promises ended.
Thinking about the successful relationships in my life - my relationship with my partner, the relationships that have made my business and my writing work - they’re based on a simple principle.
It’s the foundation. It’s consistency, reliability and honesty.
I say what I’m going to do and make sure I am talking about the things within my control. I do what I said I’d do. And then I say exactly what I’ve done.
There are no excuses in that formula. There are no complaints. There is no finger-pointing and blaming. It’s all clear, and it’s all communication and commitment.
If you explain to people the process you are going to follow and the tasks you will complete - focusing only on the things that are entirely within your control - you’re giving them a picture of how you think and how you plan. You’re giving them something they can count on. If you follow through with it, if you take ownership of it and complete those tasks, you’re teaching them that when they count on you, you come through. And when you sit down with them to go through everything you’ve done and analyse what worked and what didn’t, you’re both getting the opportunity to learn and grow. Whether or not anything has worked out, whether or not your project has succeeded, whether or not your relationship is happy - if you can be certain that you get exactly what you committed to, you will have a better chance of understanding what went wrong.
I think we’ve all worked with folks who can’t follow that formula. Or who actively choose not to.
They over promise and under deliver. They sell ahead of what’s possible. They spin stories about massive results and then show up empty-handed.
When you’re dating someone like that, it’s heartbreaking. When you’re hiring someone like that, it’s soul-crushing.
Don’t be the person who is unreliable and untrustworthy.
No, really - don’t be that person. It’s quite a simple approach to life, but it works.