Why Commitment is More Important Than Engagement

My son married one of the most beautiful and talented young women I know recently. They had been seeing each other since high school, but finally made the decision to be married, and so got engaged on New River Beach outside of Saint John in August of 2012.

As is their way, Alex and Kasia were more relaxed and organized as any person has a right to be, even in the face of Hotel mix-ups and technical problems. They were prepared, cool (in the relaxed sort of way), caring and considerate towards all of their guests, thoughtful and decisive.

Which has gotten me to thinking about the whole engagement process. When a couple becomes married, what happens to the engagement? What happens to the relationship? What happens in the hearts and minds of the two people? The day after being engaged, has anything happened to the two of them that wasn’t there the day before?

Are they still engaged?

What about common-law arrangements? Are they ever engaged or are they just committed?

Who does the courting in the business world? (you both do) Who is the one to pop the question: The company who wants you, but you do your part as well to be attractive and available.

Remember the first day on your dream job? All the world looked bright and shiny, you were open to new experiences, you were excited and committed to doing your very best. You believed in everyone who worked at this new company, and would do anything for them because you were both on the same team. You now had an opportunity to do what you did best. You had somewhere to shine.

So you became engaged, and You were engaged until…

You were told to read a policy and procedure manual that laid out how you were supposed to think and act and what you must do in every given circumstance without allowing for serendipity or common sense. The skills and abilities that defined you were now supposed to be neatly packaged in this little box and put on a shelf until you took off the uniform. You had to act on behalf of a company that you didn’t fully understand, and you had to defend it’s values, even if you didn’t support them. No-one told you why the company existed, just to do your job, keep your head down and do what you were told.

What kind of a relationship is that?

So what happened?

You probably moved to a company and a new team who celebrated creativity and innovation. You merged into a company where everyone supported each other and mistakes were handled much differently. You were now given permission to use your common sense and make decisions based on what your customers needed rather than what a PP manual said.

I believe that the word “Engagement” is a misnomer. Simply because it suggests that it will come to an end at one point or another. I think the proper word should be “Commitment”, as it denotes a much deeper emotion that points in the direction of total openness, support and passion. A committed person is there mind, body and soul. She does whatever is necessary to be a linchpin in her organization. She’s innovative, creative and demonstrates initiative towards pushing through bottle necks and seeing things through. She becomes a disciple of the corporate vision and values and walks the long walk towards the goals set out by the leadership team. She is the embodiment of the “why” that the company exists. It means that when it comes to customer service, she see’s everyone as a customer and treats them accordingly, not as a number, but as a name and a person with emotions, feelings, passions and goals. She becomes an advocate of the company she works for and goes the extra mile for all concerned. She realizes that commitment means relationships, and so is respectful to peoples time and talents.

Enrolling people into a committed relationship, business or otherwise, shouldn’t be that hard if you follow Dale Carnegie’s key principles:

  1. Make the other person feel important and do it sincerely.
  2. Become genuinely interested in the other person.
  3. Don’t criticize, condemn and don’t complain.

Make a decision to be committed to who and what you want to become. Commit to it. Take the steps necessary to be open and transparent and be willing to push your comfort zone daily, and you have the ingredients to a healthy, happy life.

A Bit about me…

My vision is quite simple: to make an impact on the lives of the people who have been entrusted to me: You (for reading this article), my family and my clients.

I coach people. Direct, practical, innovative, meaningful.I coach for excellence.I love what I do… and so do my clients.

Over the years I’ve noticed that business coaching that was supposed to make us stronger actually took away our confidence and made us doubt ourselves. Confidence and people skills aren’t developed just by measuring and planning everything, they grow through doing and learning from experience and by taking risks. People want to make a difference. Build teams. Be better understood. Live more confidently.

I founded IBC Impact Business Communication Inc. to create a world where business people communicate and act with confidence to create better worlds for themselves. Worlds where they feel powerful and free to express themselves. Worlds where something as simple as conversation creates energy, understanding and impact. Worlds so exquisite, I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.

If you found this article helpful, insightful or moving, please let me know, if you think it can help others, please share it with them.