Can we discuss a deep topic today? Obedience. Yikes. Why is it such a heavy word? Perhaps because of the negative connotations and childhood memories it sparks. Obedience to our parents and teachers as children usually meant going against our own personal desires. As adults, obedience to our bosses and other authorities, like traffic laws and taxes, still often means the same thing. But that’s not the kind of obedience I’m referring to here. What I’m talking about is obedience to your own personal commitments so that your life will work the way you want it to.
If you feel like you’re 100% living in your calling, but still aren’t seeing fruit from your efforts, then it might be time to take a good hard look at obedience. Could disciplined obedience be the one thing that’s standing in the way of your blessings? I want you to think about this phrase: Your life works to the degree you keep your commitments. How seriously do you view the commitments that you make? Commitments to others, to yourself, and to your Maker. For thousands of years, we have been taught, “let your yes be yes and your no be no”. One of my favorite books, The Success Principles, by Jack Canfield, has an entire chapter on the value of keeping your agreements and the shockingly high psychological cost of not doing so.
Some examples to consider in relation to others: Are you punctual or always late? (“Fashionably late” isn’t acceptable unless it’s to a social function.) Are you exceptional or do you always find yourself having to ask for an exception? Are you prepared or scattered? How often do you find yourself apologizing for dropping the ball? When you make financial commitments and go into partnerships with friends, peers, or coworkers, are you proactive in fulfilling your obligation, or do you procrastinate & bail because you know you can? How often do you agree to attend a function (business meeting, wedding/baby shower, coffee with friends, home party) only to back out or pull a no show at the last minute? Some of this may be a new thought that you haven’t processed before, and please know I’m not trying to step on your toes. But, think about it. Your life works to the degree you keep your commitments. In some of the examples I just gave, you may not have formally signed agreements relative to start time or registration deadlines, but when joining the organization involved, you committed to play by their rules. And don’t you want your team to operate and participate with 100% excellence when you’re the leader? It will never happen until YOU commit to participate in that way as the follower. Call it karma, law of attraction, what goes around comes around, anything…but it’s true, whether you accept it or not. Like Gandhi said, YOU must become the change you want to see in your world…in your family, team, or organization.
And how about the commitments that you make to yourself? Do you go to bed on time, knowing that it dictates your power the entire following day? Do you get up with the alarm clock or hit snooze until you’re late and stressed? Do you work out when you say you’re going to, or beat yourself up for not doing it the rest of the day? Do you have your prayer/meditation time in the morning, or do you sleep through it and then want to kick yourself when you’re short-tempered with your family all day because you didn’t start your day off right? Do you make the important calls when you told yourself you would, or do you procrastinate with creative avoidance all day and then go to bed completely defeated at night? What we don’t realize is that every time we break one of these seemingly small agreements, we completely undermine our own sense of personal power. We not only lose the respect and trust of everyone around us, but we destroy our own self-respect, self-trust, and self-confidence, which is much worse, because it eats away at what we believe we will accomplish in the future. Integrity is nothing but obedience to self.
What about those agreements between you and your Maker? Who do you want to be? Can you go out of your way to be more obedient in the tiny crevices of your character? Again, what we’re talking about here is critical inch material. The kind of material that will determine whether you live a good life or a great life. At first glance, it may be hard to see the connection between being late with your payment for an event and why you’re not hitting your goals. How could the two possibly have anything to do with one another? They have EVERYTHING to do with one another, because your business is nothing more than an extension of who you are in life. And if your life is a mess, your business will more than likely follow. Are you with me on this?
When you stop to let all of this soak in, it can start to get very overwhelming, because we feel like we might not ever get it together. But we’re not going for perfection here; the mission is progress. We’re not meant to feel defeated every day! Every morning that we wake up is a brand-new day to be used as a fresh clean slate. So, keep it simple. Don’t worry about how you’re going to fix your whole life. Just start with today. And if you feel like you already royally screwed it up somehow this morning, just take a deep breath, exercise a little state management, and start fresh with this very minute. Simple obedience to self. Minute, after minute, after minute. Can you do that? If so, the minutes take care of the hours, which build the days, which create the weeks, which turn into the months that drive the years that define your life. But don’t go there! Just focus on being excellent in this moment. Be obedient to your absolute best for this one minute….and the rest will come.