One of the most powerful ways to expand your perspective and re-orient effectively is to reconnect with your core commitments – the values and purpose that mean most to you in life.
Anyone who has watched a triathlon knows that trailing well behind the leaders is an amazing group of physically challenged athletes who compete with the aid of prostheses and modified bikes. These people have chosen to act on their core commitments rather than succumb to a victim mentality. They are quick to let you know that although they may be disadvantaged, they are not disabled.
Many [people] become great leaders because they’ve endured and learned powerful lessons from horrible life experiences. While some people collapse from these situations, leaders find their way and come through them stronger, wiser and more inspiring to others. How? Core commitments are a big part of the answer.
A commitment is a choice. Your core commitments are choices so central to your being that you never release them. Physically challenged athletes have discovered their passion for competing and making the most of opportunities, whatever it takes. Parents have discovered they will sacrifice their lives for their children. [People] who identify and then persistently act on their core commitments tend to stay creative, resilient, engaging, and more successful over time.
Imagine that someone has securely placed a steel I-beam on the curb, spanning the width of a city street. The beam is but 7 inches off the ground, all traffic has been stopped, and someone offers you $1,000 to walk across the beam to the other corner. Would you do it? Of course.
What if the beam was raised to a height of 10 feet off the ground, and now they offer you $20,000 to walk across it? Some would no doubt consider it.
Finally, the beam is moved to a height of 290 feet, spanning a narrow, 80-foot-wide canyon in southwestern Colorado. Heavy winds blow up and down the canyon all day long. Would you walk across it for the same $20,000? For $50,000? Probably not.
How about if the person offering you the money dangled your young child, or someone dear to you over the edge and threatened to drop them? Would you walk across the I-beam to save them? You bet. Think about the things in your life you would be willing to walk the I-beam for. These are your core commitments.
When you find yourself stuck, disoriented or momentarily knocked on your keister, take time to reflect and then act on your core commitments. They will guide effective choices that leave you fulfilled and encourage those around you.
- excerpts from “Rebooting…Leadership” by Kimbell, Hadden and Catlette