Commitment is never an act of moderation. (~Kenneth G. Mills) The future is not something we enter. The future is something we create. (~Leonard I. Sweet) Leaders are committed to creating the future. (~Kathryn Scanland)
When I came across these two quotes, they seemed to complement one another. I liked the idea of contrasting commitment with moderation. It’s clear in some areas of my own life that I’m not really committed because reality most certainly reflects moderation. Let’s take my “commitment” to exercise as an example. I’ll confess, I exercise, but in moderation. So am I really committed? I’ll be honest, I get by, but not a lot more. And I’ve often referenced the future as something we create as opposed to predict when doing strategic planning exercises. So then, what would it look like if we were really committed to creating the future?
Not long ago I was sitting in a board meeting and we were discussing the purpose of the board. I commented that I believe one of the purposes of a board is to keep the organization accountable to the future. A more accurate description may have been to say the board should keep the organization committed to the future. As we move forward, creating the future, are we committed or are we acting in moderation? Synonyms of moderation include words like restraint, self-control and temperance. The most referenced antonym of moderation is excess. It’s hard to make excess sound like a positive attribute; however, this may be an exception.
Recently, I had a conversation with someone who was describing their commitment to the organization. It was the same commitment a relative had advised him to have in his marriage. The advice was to give at least 60% and expect 40% in return. In other words, commitment should be in excess, not in moderation. How many of us would want to be in a “committed relationship” that was an act of moderation?
We could create a lengthy list of people who were committed to creating a future that was anything but, an act of moderation: Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Nelson Mandela, Abraham Lincoln, and so on. Maybe these leaders weren’t more talented, gifted, or smarter than any of the rest of us. Maybe they were just a whole lot more committed.
Committed to creating the future; admittedly, a daunting task! We’re distracted by the issues that come across our desk day-in and day-out. We end each day with a to-do list that feels like we hardly made a dent in all that needs to be accomplished. It’s uncertain who made the following statement, but it’s sometimes attributed to Abraham Lincoln.
Commitment is what transforms a promise into reality. It is the words that speak boldly of your intentions. And the actions which speak louder than the words. It is making the time when there is none. Coming through time after time after time, year after year after year. Commitment is the stuff character is made of; the power to change the face of things. It is the daily triumph of integrity over skepticism.
How committed are you to creating the future?