Commentary

October 19, 2012

What is your word worth?

Your word, promise and integrity are worth something. The value placed on them is different for everybody.

The old saying, “my word is my bond,” is a powerful statement that builds confidence and helps you become known as a reliable person. Disregarding your word not only adversely affects those relying on you, it also depletes your own self-value, as your word loses its worth. Like any contract, a breach makes your word of honor void.

Remember when business was done by a handshake and everyone knew when someone didn’t honor a commitment? Even though there wasn’t Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and the Internet (I know I’m dating myself, but there was life before social media) everyone in town knew if someone wasn’t reliable.

I was raised to honor my word. This ethic garnered me a reputation among my friends, family and peers for getting things done. If I told someone I would do a task or take care of an issue, they could rest assured I would.

My word has become invaluable to me; I cannot compromise my integrity at any cost. Not now, not ever. In business your word is your bond, even if you don’t shake hands or sign a contract, your word should be good enough. Unfortunately not everyone feels that way in today’s world. Many are out to get what’s owed to them. Really, what does this world owe you?

The frustration of pursuing material or personal gain can cause many to pay little attention to their words using them loosely without regard. Some have adopted a “fake it ’til you make it” attitude saying whatever they need to say or what they think people want to hear. While this approach may appear successful, when you look beyond the surface it yields a hollow experience. Whether you know it or not, your words are the bricks with which you build your life.

You all know someone notorious for not following up or fulfilling verbal commitments. Giving your word means giving your intention to honor what you say; however, if you are unable or unwilling to keep your word, you must find the courage to respectfully withdraw. By not fulfilling your commitment, your words have essentially become empty, due to your lack of honor and commitment to see them through.

I encourage you to take a long, hard look at your communication practices. Do you do what you say you’re going to do when you say you’re going to do it? We create our world by the words we use. This is followed by the actions we take. When the two align, we create integrity.

“Well done is better than well said.” – Benjamin Franklin




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