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What is a commitment?
A commitment is an agreement that is (1) a fact demonstrated by observable and measurable behavior and (2) an attitude that reflects a consistency and alignment in thought and belief.

For example, a committed relationship is one in which your behavior demonstrates commitment in an operational and observable way, one in which your thoughts and beliefs about the relationship are consistent, and in alignment with, the notion of commitment.

So, if you say you’re in a committed relationship but never have time for your partner, that is not commitment.

If you spend 95% of your time with your partner but are consistently wishing or wanting to be elsewhere, not sure if the relationship is the right one, or fantasizing being with another person or persons, that is not commitment.

What is harmony?
Harmony is a state in which there’s congruence between what you say, feel, think and do. When one or more of these four elements is not in alignment with the others, you won’t experience harmony. Instead, you’ll experience a feeling of imbalance that results in little real happiness, meaning or purposefulness.

In a state of imbalance, you move drone-like though life – at work, at home, at play and in relationships.

When we’re committed, we show we care deeply and are engaged – yes, even at work.

Elements of commitment
For commitment to be conscious and healthy, four elements are necessary:

  • Be clear about who you are, what you want in life and know how to get what you want
  • Have a clear set of well-defined goals and purpose for your life that are in alignment with who you are, and your core values
  • Engage in conscious preparation for the commitment by building the physical, mental, emotional, social, psychological and communication skills that will support your choice to commit
  • Committing – making the conscious choice to commit, engage and participate. The path to happiness is paved with commitment. No commitment, no happiness. Perhaps a faux happiness, the appearance of happiness, but not the real, authentic thing. Instead, you’re always looking for more and for “the next best thing,” or person.

Living someone else’s beliefs
They have probably never sat down and reflected on their deeper life requirements or the core values underneath these requirements. More likely, what they have done (beginning in childhood) is come up with a list of work-life-play requirements based on someone else’s beliefs of what’s right, necessary or important. As a result, they have become indoctrinated with other peoples’ beliefs about what’s important. Consider those who consistently say they’re unhappy – at work, at home, or in their relationships. What’s most often lacking is commitment.

At the same time, they have never taken the time and energy to consciously explore inside and ask themselves what they really, really want. Rather, they blindly followed someone else’s vision or goal. It’s no wonder they cannot experience commitment.

Why mid-life crises now begin at 30
Many of those who have never really explored commitment in a meaningful way share some distinctive characteristics. They lack of clarity about their life purpose, their core values or the place of spirituality in their life. They have a consistent tendency to look outside themselves for life’s “answers.” They have a limited ability for self-reflection. They lack clarity about who they are. They go through life experiencing a low-grade-fever type of state where they experience frustration, agitation, unhappiness and discontent on a regular basis.

The antidote
The first step to exploring commitment is to look at the discrepancy that exists between commitment in fact and commitment in attitude to see what’s causing the discrepancy. (HINT: the cause is never “out there.”) This inquiry begins with personal responsibility, by asking things like:

“What’s going on with me that accounts for my lack of engagement or commitment (either in fact and/or in attitude)?”
“Why don’t I have what I want?”
“Why does having what I think I want always lead me to feeling unhappy, empty, lonely and unfulfilled?”
“Why do I always feel I’m on the outside looking in?”
“Why am I always asking others what they think, feel or believe?”
“Why do I seem to sabotage myself so much?”
“Why am I so jealous and envious of others?”

Additional questions for self-reflection:

How committed are you with your activities during your day – at work, at home and in relationships?
How do you manifest commitment, dedication and passion?
With respect to your career, your relationships, your health and your happiness, how committed are you and how indifferent are you? How might others feel about your levels of commitment?
Do you ever emotionally, verbally or physically bully or manipulate others because you are committed against something?
Do you find yourself denying and procrastinating because you’re not 100% committed to someone or something?
Do you ever doubt the value of your commitments? If so, when? How so?
Are you afraid to let go of that to which you are not committed? Why do you hang on?
When was the last time you took time to seriously reflect on who you are, what you want in life or why you may be feeling uncommitted to someone or something?
How do you know your values are your values and not someone else’s?
Do you ever “go along to get along” when you know that it’s bad for you? Why?
Do your values and beliefs ever contradict one another?
Do you feel your life reflects “harmony”?

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(c) 2015, Peter G. Vajda, Ph.D. and True North Partnering. All rights in all media reserved.

I’m grateful for the opportunity to share this reading with you and I hope you find it insightful and useful. Perhaps you’ll share this with others, post it on a bulletin board, and use it to generate rich and rewarding discussion.

What is the one thing that is keeping you from feeling successful, happy, confident, in control or at peace as you live your life – at work, at home, at play or in relationship? Maybe you know what that “thing” is…maybe you don’t. You just have a feeling that something has to change, whether or not you embrace that change. And how would that change support you to show up as a “better you?”

I’m available to guide you to create relationships that reflect honesty, integrity, authenticity, trust, and respect whether at work or outside of work. I support you to focus on the interpersonal skills that enable you to relate to others with a high level of personal and professional satisfaction – unhampered by personal inconsistencies, beliefs, “stories,” and behaviors that create barriers to a harmonious, pleasant, conscious, compatible, healthy and productive relationship.

I coach by phone, Skype and in person. For more information, 770-804-9125, www.truenorthpartnering.com or pvajda(at)truenorthpartnering.com

You can also follow me on Twitter: @petergvajda.

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