How Badly Do You Want to See it Happen?

A blog entry inspired by those who, through their commitment, make things happen.

After having spent a whole day for a Strategic Planning conversation with fellow AWiB Board Members, I was transfixed in listening to the wisdom of our facilitator Yusuf Reja from Ethiojobs.

My attention intensified when Yusuf shared stories on the commitment of extraordinary individuals who have made such a difference in their communities. He talked about their focus and commitment and then challenged us to think: ‘In what you are setting out to do with AWiB, how badly do you want to achieve your goals?

So this is the question I ask myself and all of us: ‘How badly do we want what we want? Not when things are easy, but when they are challenging and demanding, rain or shine, cold or hot?’

If I look at some parts of my life where things are not shifting or moving, I can say that this is because what is missing is my commitment, and what I’m actually doing is hesitating, wanting to draw back, and to give excuses along the way. I’m learning how commitment is a bridge between dreaming, actions, and achieving results.

I see commitment as being a hallmark of great leaders, an Emotional Intelligence competency, a vehicle for the realization of our dreams and an organization’s objectives. As Daniel Goleman asserts, motivation to achieve translates into strong leadership.

Committed leaders are appreciated for walking their talk and to do everything possible to make things happen, contributing to the success of their organizations. In his article, ‘What makes a Leader’, Daniel Goleman writes: ‘If you set the performance bar high for yourself, you will do the same for the organization.’ Commitment enables us to surpass goals set and deliver results. Indeed, imagine working in a team, or leading an organization without optimism and organizational commitment running through them. I can imagine that we would experience lethargy, lack of direction and malfunction.

I’m learning that it’s commitment, and the perseverance and focus that emanate out of that, that can make a difference in the results we generate, or don’t achieve.

A dear coach of mine, Allan Henderson, has shared a poem with us students of leadership development, which at times of uncertainty I refer back to. Here is an excerpt:

Until one is committed

there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back,

always ineffectiveness.

…the moment one definitely commits oneself,

then Providence moves too.

All sorts of things occur to help one

that would never otherwise have occurred.

A whole stream of events issues from the decision,

raising in one’s favour all manner

of unforeseen incidents and meetings

and material assistance,

which no man could have dreamt

would have come his way.

I have learned a deep respect

for one of Goethe’s couplets:

“Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it.

Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.”

W.H. Murray

‘The Scottish Himalayan Expedition’

What do you like about this poem? In my case, it reminds me that, when I stop hesitating, and when I declare my commitment and act, people, resources and circumstances turn up that will support me in my commitment! And this may require radical commitment. Allan Henderson recounted to us how, at one point in his life, his friends and him had committed to a cause, and the only time the found they had to come together to work on it (beyond family and other work demands), was at 5 am every Monday morning. And that’s what they did – they met every Monday, at 5 o’clock in the morning – I applaud the physical and emotional investment this may have required! Their words were translated into action!

I’m learning that commitment is, as Josselyne Herman-Saccio writes, ‘the ability to create possibility and make a difference with anyone at any time under any circumstance, in the face of no agreement, no matter what life throws at you, being ‘unmessablewith.’ I recall how, in those instances in which I declared my commitment and acted from that space as, the course of my life actually changed.

And so, back to Yusuf’s question,

how badly do we want to see something happening? AWiB co-founder, Nahu Senay Girma, once shared a quote that stresses what commitment is for me:

‘Put your head underwater and keep

it there for a while. You’ll soon realize that you’re 100% committed to breathing. Notice that you don’t make excuses not to breathe. Notice that you don’t worry about motivating yourself to breathe. Notice that you don’t need

to justify your desire to breathe. You just breathe.

Commitment is action. No excuses. No debate. No lengthy analysis. No whining about how hard it is. No worrying about what others might think. No cowardly delays. Just go. What if something gets in the way of your commitment? What would you do if someone tried to prevent you from breathing?’ — Steve Pavlina

And so, as I see the weeks ahead, and am aware of what will stretch me and test me, I smile as I renew my commitment to my commitments, with no debate, lengthy analysis, or worrying what others might think.

I’m so curious about your thoughts and experiences around commitment:

in your life, what are you committed to? What is it that you badly wish to see happen?