Three months into 2018, I think it’s about time I told you about my New Year’s resolution.
My resolution for 2018—and I had one, not three-or-five like I always set and never keep—is to keep my commitments.
Commitments to myself, commitments to others. Meaning, if I say I’m going to go to Cut Seven today I actually have to go. If I say I’m going to write a blog post once a week I have to publish it. If I tell a friend I’ll review a website, check a bug on their email automation, or fix their web form; they shouldn’t have to remind me seven times to do it.
Which still happens. My friend Keena asked me to sew a hole in her jeans like, seven weeks ago, and they’re still just folded in the top of my closet.
I should really do that today.
I chose commitments as my mantra for the year for two reasons. One, I set a lot of big goals for myself and I want to ensure I hit them. Two, it dawned on me that I just really fucking suck at it.
I think it’s important to stop and check yourself once in awhile.
I’m not sure how or when I landed on my resolution, but I do remember when I realized my shit was anything but together.
My friend Maranie, who I’ve told you about many times and is, quite honestly, one of the baddest bitches I know, asked me to give her feedback on website.
Super simple request.
Let me lay a little groundwork for this story. First, Maranie is a really, really good friend of mine and one of the few people I keep in contact with from my time in Pittsburgh. Two, Maranie never asks for ANYTHING. She is the single most independent person I know. Three, she would do the same for me. Period. She’s taken dozens of photos of me just because I asked, and this is a photographer who gets phone calls from Reuters.
So Maranie, like many solopreneurs, let her website go, I dunno—a YEAR without updates and asked for my feedback. She didn’t ask me to choose a new template. Didn’t wonder if I could fix a line of code. She wanted my THOUGHTS ONLY, and did not care if I phoned them, texted them, emailed them, or sent a telegram.
She must have asked me like, EIGHT times.
And that’s the moment when I was like, “Wow Kara. You just, suck.”
Write down what you WANT to be known for. Then write down what you believe you ARE known for. Then note the gaps between the two.
I heard this really interesting thought the other day: We are not the sum of how people define us. Actually, we are the ones who get to define ourselves. We get to say, “I am these three things,” and then just BE that.
So if you tell the world, “I’m a photographer, speaker, and activist,” the world will introduce you as, “Oh yea, that’s Sally—she’s a speaker and photographer. And shes’s like, a total activist.”
I never thought of this before. Like, EVER. I’m a copywriter by trade, and I swear the hardest thing to write is a company (or person) one-liner. I will write thirty iterations—THIRTY!—of, “Mark is a visual artist, writer, and motivator,” before we land on one that resonates.
After wanting to blow my brains out over the past several years writing one-liners for every business and entrepreneur you can imagine, it never occurred to me that we could write our own, personal-life one-liners.
And if I had to write my own, Kara McCartney one-liner, one word that I would really WANT to write—that’s simply NOT there yet—is reliable.
I really like that word.
When I was twenty-two, I was sitting in my boss’s office—arguably one of the best mentors of my life, you can read about him here—asking if I could schedule a consultant for a 10AM meeting in DC. Not a big deal, except this particular colleague was taking a red-eye home from San Francisco and wouldn’t land until 8AM.
My boss didn’t blink. “Schedule it.”
When I gave a look that clearly read you SURE about that? He said, “Anuj is Mr. Reliable. He’ll be there.”
My boss trusted and counted on this guy so much he would rather put his name on the calendar invite—knowing he’d be there, knowing he wouldn’t be late—than someone coming from the same zip code. Or time zone.
I wanted to be just like that.
It’s not a perfect system.
Like I said, sometimes you just have to check yourself. And if I couldn’t come through on a simple favor for a really good friend, I just was NOT where I wanted to be.
Three months in I realize sometimes I have to make less commitments just to come through on those I do make. If I say I’m going to write a blog post on this website, write an article for a client, AND write a marketing blog for my other site—well frankly one of those just isn’t going to happen.
And sometimes keeping a commitment to one person means not making a commitment to another. I had a client pissseeddddddddd at me this week when I wouldn’t fulfill a same-day task, all because I had two other promised deliverables due to two other clients.
So sometimes it’s just kind of like, “Get in line, buddy.”
Like I said, it’s anything but a perfect system. Hopefully I don’t have half a dozen friends reading this thinking, “Bitch! You promised me that weeks ago!”
Keena, I SWEAR I’ll get to your jeans.
So that’s my three months. It’s a total work in progress.