I’m not afraid of storms, for I’m learning how to sail my ship.
—Louis May Alcott, Little Women

Imagine you’re a sailor out at sea on the journey of a lifetime. The skies have been sunny and blue for a while not, but one day, you hit a rough patch. Dark clouds fill the sky, rain starts to pour, and the waves get rough. You feel your boat blown this way and that, and you fear you might capsize. As you and your crew struggle to stay upright, you give thanks for one thing. The keel of your ship.

Down below the water, running lengthwise along the center of your boat, this fin-like structure keeps you steady. As the wind blows you sideways, the keel stabilizes your boat and keeps you upright, no matter how rough the waters get.

Eventually, the storm subsides, and you dry off. As you re-embark on your journey, the keel continues to serve you, taking the push and pull of the wind and converting it into forwarding momentum.

When you’re on a journey to follow a calling, your commitment is like the keel of your ship.

The laying down of the keel is the first step in building a ship. Likewise, articulating your commitment is one of your first steps on the journey to living your calling.

Your commitment is a pledge, a promise, a vow to make to yourself. It’s a quick link to the heart of what’s most important to you. Your commitment challenges you to become more fully yourself, to become the person who can rise to the challenges you face. When things get rough and you remember your commitment, it calls the questions, quieting the internal back-and-forth chatter and reminding you of what’s most important. Your commitment helps you stay steady and steer a straighter course in the direction you want to go.

I invite you to create a commitment statement now.

Make sure your commitment is something you’re willing and able to promise to yourself. To build self-trust, never tell yourself that you’ll do something that actually feels impossible or that you don’t intend to follow through on.

When you make a commitment, you don’t need to know how you’re going to fulfill it. All you need to know is that you’re committed to doing your best and willing to make the necessary sacrifices. If you slip up, you can always begin again.

What does a commitment statement sound like?

While I was writing the first draft of my book, my commitment was, “I am prolific.” I’ve always aspired to write a lot, but for one reason or another, writing took a back burner. To answer the calling to write this book, I needed to make the necessary sacrifices of time and energy. When I was nearing completion, I needed to re-engage with enjoying the rest of life again, and now my current commitment is, “I am committed to relaxing into and savoring my life.”

Here are a few examples of my clients’ commitment statements:

  • I am listening.
  • I am a commitment to trusting in myself and in life.
  • I am committed to owning my power.
  • I am committed to discovering what I truly want and need.
  • I am committed to serving my community while being true to myself.
  • I open myself to being seen.
  • I am leader.

Commitments with the power to transform have the following characteristics. They—

  • Are short and easy to remember
  • Feel stretchy, challenging, and almost always a bit scary.
  • May start with, “I am committed” or  “I am…” or “I choose…”
  • Focus on what you will do, not on what you won’t do.
  • May feel cliche or trite, but it speaks to you.

So, what’s your commitment?

I invite you to create a commitment statement now. Here’s how—

  1. Get comfortable, and write what comes up in response to the following questions. Make sure to write down whatever comes up, without censoring yourself, even if it feels scary or like something you “shouldn’t” be writing—
    • What do I most want to be or become in this next phase of my life?
    • What do I know deep down that I need to do in this next phase of my life, even if I really don’t want to do it or know how yet?
    • What unmet longing have I denied or pushed away?
    • What do I fear most about this new phase?
    • What is my current learning edge in my work and life?
  2. Reflect on what you wrote. Then, play with the words that are coming to you until you create a statement that feels like it lands. If you’re struggling, go for good enough.
  3. Finally, I invite you to stand up. When you take a stand for something, you take responsibility for making it a reality. You own it in your body. So, right now, (yes, right now) I invite you to stand up.
    • If you have a friend who can hold a respectful safe for you, ask them to stand facing you. Or, you can imagine that I’m standing there with you, facing you, and you’re sharing your commitment with me aloud. You can also stand in front of a mirror.
    • Then, speak your commitment statement out loud. Notice your body language, facial expressions, and tone of voice. At first, it may feel a bit awkward. Repeat your commitment until it feels grounded and matter-of-fact.
  4. Finally, write your commitment statement on a couple of index cards and put them where you’ll see them every day— in your car, on your desk, in your bathroom. That way, you’ll be continually reminded to return to what’s most important to you.

If you hold your commitment close to your heart, it will eventually become part of who you are and how you show up in the world.

As you continue to evolve, your learning edge will shift too. At a certain point, you will be ready for a new commitment. When your current commitment stops being a challenge, I invite you to craft a new commitment that feels fresh and speaks to your new learning edge.

I’d love to hear from you!

What’s your commitment?

Please share below, and I will make sure to respond. Thanks!

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