I was 18 years old and it was my first year at UCSD. I had been walking the campus to try to figure out where all my classes were so that I wouldn’t be late, and came to a table with a sign that said “Free T-shirt.” I approached the table and the pretty girl behind the sign told me that all I had to do to get the free t-shirt was sign up for this new Visa credit card and so I did. I got my free t-shirt and was happy thinking that I had just fooled them; I would never really use the credit card.
Two weeks later, the card arrived and I began to spend. I was working in retail and made minimum wage, so taking on another bill was probably not the best idea, but hey, what the heck; I got a free t-shirt. I loved using my new credit card. About 60 days passed, and I went to get gas with my new card.
I handed my card to the woman behind the counter and she looked at me with a funny face and followed by cutting my new card into pieces with scissors because I had not paid. I was furious. I called the credit card company and began to yell at the customer service representative. I told her how they had embarrassed me and how this wasn’t fair. What she said in return would stay with me for the rest of my life: “When you get a credit card you promise to pay us back what you spent and on time.”
As a life coach, people often ask me what creates success and what causes people to transform their lives. My answer is integrity. Integrity is following through with your promises and taking care of business in a timely manner, regardless of what will happen if you don’t. We tend to make excuses to others if we can’t complete a task, or worse; we make excuses to ourselves.
How many times have you told yourself that tomorrow you will wake up early and go to the gym. Then, 7 a.m. comes around, your alarm sounds, you look at your phone and decide that one more hour of sleep is more important than keeping your word to yourself. You see, what happens in that moment is something that many people don’t recognize. Your subconscious takes your lack of integrity, views it as a failure and remembers it.
Two days later, you promise to eat healthy and that same weekend you pig out and call it a “cheat” day. Once again your subconscious remembers it. You may have forgotten all those little things but your mind does not. It holds onto them, especially when you want to create new goals, almost laughing at you; knowing that you have not kept your word so many times before. Why would you do it now?
So how do we make sure that our mind is programed for success? The answer is always keep your word. From the promises you make to others and especially to yourself to what you say about others and even your thoughts, your word is the secret to success.
The Talmud states that the tongue is so powerful that it has to be hidden behind two barriers, the lips and the teeth. So I challenge you to keep your promises for 30 days. I promise you will see a shift in your mindset to success.