When many of my clients start working with me, they have wished to change their lives for a long time but haven’t yet committed.

A wish sounds like:

  • It would be good if I…
  • I’d like to
  • I’ll try to (fill in the blank with something that’s unrealistic given the time or effort required).

In contrast, a commitment is a solemn promise, a pledge, a vow, a declaration.

When we get clear about what we honestly have the capacity for before saying yes (to ourselves or anyone else), set right-sized commitments, and follow through, we develop the ability to trust ourselves.

Staying true to our commitments doesn’t mean that we never slide back into old habits. It means that when we slip up, we take responsibility and make amends. And then we do it all over again: pausing, getting clear about what we have the capacity for, and consciously choosing our commitments.

One powerful practice for embodying commitment is creating a commitment statement—a quick link to the heart of our calling, a concise, easy-to-remember declaration of how we pledge to be or what we pledge to do.

For example, when my late teacher, Presence-Based Coaching creator, Doug Silsbee, wrote his final book, his commitment statement was: I am a book. My most recent commitment was: I will complete the fourth draft of my book by April 25. (And I took solace in Doug’s commitment in the final weeks as I became a book.)

Some clients’ recent commitment statements have included:

  1. I am committed to discovering and honoring what I truly want and need.
  2. I am a commitment to serving my community while being true to myself.
  3. I am committed to creating a career I love.
  4. I am committed to building my business with self-compassion and joy.
  5. I am a leader.
  6. I am visible.
  7. I trust myself.
  8. I am a commitment to organizing my neighbors for social justice.

My client, Julia, created a commitment statement at the beginning of our work together, and each week for the next two years, reflected on how she was aligning her life with her commitment. Here’s what she wrote a year into the process:

At the beginning of my work with Katherine, I created a commitment statement based on my values: I choose. I choose courage & authenticity, health & wellbeing, and spaciousness.

Over the next year, as I consistently came back to my commitment, it nudged me toward what really matters to me. It served as a constant reminder of what I value, why I am doing this new and challenging thing, and what I need to do in order to actualize my vision.

As a result, my daily work is much more connected to my vision for my life and work. And I made my decision! I left my old job and am now moving forward in a new entrepreneurial career. I am embarking on my journey with more confidence and clarity than I could have imagined.


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