The underlying component to all things in the relationship arena, professional or personal, is to establish and maintain trust. Without trust there can never be a deep, lasting connection between you, the people you work with, and the people in your inner circle.
A promise is a marker of our integrity and our intention. A promise is a commitment. However, a promise isn’t a promise until we keep it. And understanding this makes all the difference in the world when you want to stay connected or create connection with others in a meaningful and lasting way.
Making a promise or a commitment is not something to be taken lightly, made in jest, or from a place of insincerity. Anybody can make empty promises or say empty words but people will see right through them. People in your circle will know that your promises don’t mean anything and so will you if you if there is no commitment to your promises.
You have to be impeccable with your word. With your promises. People need to know that you’ll be there when you say you will be. They need to know that you will follow through with your promises.
This is what builds trust and this is what builds a deep connection between you and others.
When I was growing up my mom always said that she trusted my brothers and I until we gave her a reason not to. When trust is broken it takes a long time to build it back up. It goes away immediately and is only re-established after much hard and honest commitment to the work of restoring your word.
Promises should never be used to entice people, bribe them, or get them off your back. Again, they will see right through your words. Broken promises leave people feeling unsupported, rejected, and mistrusting. This widens the gap between you and others by not being true to your word.
When trust is broken, you have to start to build it all over again.
Bottom line. Be true to your word, your promises, and your commitments.
Make no excuses
When you break a promise, the last thing people need is for you to make excuses. They don’t care if you had to work late, got caught in traffic, or that you can’t even remember making the promise in the first place, even though those things might have some legitimacy and truth. It simply doesn’t matter when your word is at stake.
When you start back-pedaling and justifying why you couldn’t keep your word several things happen. People stop listening, and they start keeping score on how many other times this has happened. They will start to expect your excuses, and learn to trust you less and less. Your excuses are just a story you are telling but they don’t mean anything to the other person. And down deep, you don’t believe them either.
Apologize for breaking your promise. Remember, no excuses! Your apology must be sincere and heartfelt. You have to say you are sorry for causing the pain, or mistrust, or doubt others are feeling.
It’s that simple. A true apology paves the way for others to consider giving you another chance. However, don’t over use this. When it happens too many times your apology becomes part of the distrust people will feel toward you. An empty, meaningless apology is the same thing as an empty, meaningless promise, and it will not garner any understanding, connection, or trust in the other person no matter how loudly you profess it.
Making a commitment, being true to your word, making no excuses, and offering an honest and heartfelt apology will go a long way to creating trust and connection in your professional and personal relationships.