My morning ritual consists of several important ingredients, the most critical of which is coffee. Armed with some strong Eight O’Clock Dark Italian Roast coffee, I retreat to my corner of the couch and curl up, ready to begin my day. I read a daily devotional, a faux-leather bound edition of Jesus Calling by Sarah Young (a gift from my friend Katy McDonough), and I usually read it twice because that’s how slow I am. I let the words wash over me and sometimes I even read it aloud. Then I pull out Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy by Sarah Ban Breathnach. This book caused quite a sensation when it came out and made Ms. Breathnach a fortune, which she later lost due to an errant and ne’er-do-well husband. That story is detailed in Peace and Plenty: Finding Your Path to Financial Serenity by the same author. I read that next, a chapter or so at a time, to support my own rocky love affair with finances. And I recently I’ve been topping this morning ritual off with a chapter from Tim Sanders’ book Today We Are Rich: Harnessing the Power of Total Confidence. Oh, and then I pray. I guess that’s really the most important ingredient of my morning ritual.
Yes, I admit it, I’m a self-help book addict. I love beginning my day with not only Scripture but with messages from people who have been there, done that, faced adversity and won and who have a story to tell. In Tim Sanders’ book, he lists seven principles of confidence, and the last is “Promise Made, Promise Kept.” He tells a story of a woman who kept a promise not just to herself but to her boss and her physician–to quit smoking. Then she lost a significant amount of weight. She began keeping her promises and as she did so, she built that muscle and got better and better at it. That made me think, what promises am I keeping? And which ones am I failing to keep that, if I just paid more attention, would contribute to my life, my work and my relationships?
Each year I update my strategic marketing plan for my coaching and speaking business, and my first strategy for success is to “maintain and enhance client service.” One of the tactics supporting that strategy, a tactic I include each year, is to “return phone calls within 24 hours.” That’s a promise made but not always a promise kept. Whether it’s a client, a prospective client or a business associate, a family member or a friend, the value of returning that call can make the difference between success and failure. When I don’t return those calls–when I don’t keep my promises–I tend to see myself as a failure.
So today, I’m recommitting to that promise and (gulp) telling the world–that is, YOU. I invite you to hold me accountable to that promise and remind me when I’m breaking it (be gentle with me, I’m still learning). I know that by exercising my promise muscle, I will get stronger and stronger and there’s no tellin’ what might happen.
What promise will you make today, a promise you’re willing to keep?
[Photo: Hummingbird locket, available on Etsy]