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Doing What it Takes

Doing What It Takes

I don’t always travel like a rock star. I do what it takes.

Last week was a fantastic combination of opportunities. I was honored to work with three incredible organizations and help their teams realize new breakthroughs in thinking and performance. I met over a thousand people, signed hundreds of books, and traveled between five cities in a three-day stretch of time.

So, yes, after a presentation at Harrah’s in Atlantic City, I was whisked to a helipad and boarded a chartered helicopter to JFK. It was very cool.  I felt like Bono. But, in truth, it wasn’t about me.  I don’t go around chartering helicopters for my engagements as a rule. But I always do whatever I must do, at any cost, to honor my commitments.

You see, there was another audience waiting for me in Phoenix the next morning. The helicopter was simply the only way possible to make my flight in time to be there to deliver the closing keynote for an important conference. I had made a promise to my client and to their people, and I was not going to let them down. There was too much at stake – the success of their meeting, my professional reputation and, especially, my personal integrity.

We are defined by our commitments.

Many people are too quick to make commitments. Usually, this is well-intentioned – we aim to please others or fulfill a personal desire. So we say ,“Yes, I’ll do that!”  “Sure, I’ll be there.” or “You can count on me!” Then the reality hits, and the bitter aftertaste of a hasty commitment leaves us thinking: what did I do?

My kids will tell you that I don’t make promises lightly. That is because I am determined to keep them. I want my children’s experience and long-term memory to be that their dad always followed through. When he said he would be there or do something for us, he always found a way to make it happen.

Rushed commitments increase the likelihood of broken commitments. Broken commitments jeopardize your reputation, your relationships, and your success. And while I am a strong advocate for stretching our comfort zones, and leaning Off Balance in pursuit of bold ambitions, I would urge you to ensure your commitments are both realistic and purposeful.

Reality Based

Commit to something bold, audacious and uncomfortable, provided that you have:

  • Clarity about what you need to accomplish.
  • Experience to build upon.
  • A model, mentor, or path to follow.
  • Confidence that you can, and will, rise to the challenge.
  • A solid starting point, and the resources to begin.


And yet even reality can be stretched and sometimes circumvented, provided that your commitments are motivated by a sufficiently strong sense of purpose. We are “on purpose” when we are:

  • Passionate about making a difference or unique contribution.
  • Driven to achieve personal excellence.
  • Committed to continuous improvement.
  • Curious to learn and discover something new.
  • Sharing the journey with people we love and care about.

“The real joy of accomplishment is not only to complete a task, but to finish it with excitement and excellence.” (from my book, Off Balance On Purpose)

Doing what it takes can tax our abilities, resources, and energy. At times you may find yourself discouraged and deflated. Unfortunately, there may not be a helicopter waiting to save the day and speed you to your finish line. Nonetheless, you can find the lift and direction you need by reconnecting to purpose and recommitting to accomplishment … because you said so.

  • marlene lanham says:

    as usual, good info and direction,
    seems like in todays world, commitments are just words.
    thanks for the support and confirmation!!

  • Stephanie Craig says:

    Great message…never give up once you commit to something…you never know when you (or someone on your team) will be able to pull something magical out of their back pocket and make the impossible, possible!

  • Love it Dan. Recall in 1996 when we had three shows in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia on the same day. In order to honor our commitments we were whisked from gig to gig in the SUV. After one show we were “fanned” by adoring Arabs who wanted autographs. We literally had to drive out of a mob do we could make our next show! Rock Star!

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