Have you ever borrowed an item and never returned it? Have you promised to send a potential client or friend something, and never followed through? Have you said you’d call someone to invite him or her to lunch, but you never do it?
Worst of all, have you ever borrowed money or promised to pay someone a referral fee and never paid the money?
In a recent seminar I attended, a discussion broke out where nearly everyone had experienced some sort of unfulfilled promise. They all agreed it was a terrible situation happening among not only adults, even youths and teens were equally affected.
When I thought about this more deeply, I realized that both parties in these situations lose. The people who did not receive what was promised have sore feelings that will be forever remembered. These could lead to built-up negative feelings about the other person to the point where people vent through gossip, orally and even on social media.
For the people who did not fulfill their promise, their respect, reputation and level of integrity are diminished, if not lost. The longer the situation stays unresolved, the more possible that it can develop into loss of friendships and job promotions. Worst of all, the people can become the subject of malicious and exaggerated comments over time.
I’m bringing up this subject as a reminder to us all: We must make every effort to always fulfill our promises—small and large—and to only promise something when we truly intend to follow through.
Beginning this weekend, think about your unfulfilled promises:
- Make a list of all items you have ever borrowed. Locate them and return them. It doesn’t matter if you’ve had the item for years…better late than never in returning it.
- Do the same thing for the overdue sending of information, the money once borrowed, and the like. Get it together and do the right thing by getting that info and paying the person back.
Of course, when fulfilling the promise, enclose a nice handwritten note of apology for the delay and, in some instances, enclose a nice gift of appreciation.
Every fulfilled promise builds respect, integrity and reputation and shows others how trustworthy and honorable a person you are with the highest levels of integrity. Conversely, every unfilled promised equally adds to poor impressions and ultimately loss of friendships and business. Forever true in this digital age, the world—in an instant—knows all that is good and bad. We see all the highest praises and the greatest criticisms.
Actually, I rather like social media when it comes to business practices, as it is helping to build better businesses through comments shared on intolerance of poor behavior and lack of service. For anyone who serves customer and clients, now you see how extra crucial it is that all promises are kept and fulfilled. This is a major pet peeve most customers have of service providers.
And moving forward, pledge to never make new promises you know you’re not going to fulfill and keep and fulfill those you do make.
Question: What stories do you have to share about people you know who have not fulfilled their promise(s) to you? Here’s your chance to vent… no real names, please. Just share the story with perhaps fictitious names in the area below.