Alright, the last empowerment practice. This one is all about commitment.

One of the things that I always say is, if you are a person who can stand in a commitment, this is the ultimate mastery of getting people to change their behavior. Because if you don’t shift, they have no choice but to shift around you.

Stand Firm

If you look at what all the great leaders do, you can see what I mean. JFK said, we’re going to be on the moon in 10 years. That’s not possible said everyone else. But he just stood there every year, didn’t take no for an answer, and we got to the moon in year 11. Du Pont, who is one of the fathers of pollution prevention. He said, I want Zero Waste and the engineers said no, we can get you 50%. Nope, not close enough. Engineers then achieved 90%. Still not good enough. He just stood firm and that caused the behavior change around him because he refused to move.

Breaking the Cycle of the Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

I showed you a process called the cycle of the self-fulfilling prophecy earlier in this series, where perceptions and views drive actions and results. Commitment is what breaks this cycle.  I want to share with you a personal story and I usually never tell this story because it is too vulnerable for me. Then I understood that if I didn’t share it, I wasn’t ever going to be believable in the work I was doing.

When I was 33 years old, I was 280 pounds and climbing.  I had been diagnosed with a disease called Hashimoto thyroiditis, and then I was diagnosed with osteoarthritis, which is something you normally associate with people much older than 33.  I was told that my thyroid was dying and it needed to be removed. It was a risky surgery for me because of the potential impact on voice quality, and I make my living off my voice. My doctor told me that with the combination of things I was not going to be able to exercise and I could expect continued weight gain because of the thyroid loss. I had this other thing called Adrenal Exhaustion. And then, doctors put the icing on the cake and said, oh, by the way, you have something called celiac disease. At this point, I felt pretty bad about everything, to say the least.  I was also a relatively new mom with a three-year old boy and a newborn daughter. This state of poor health is not the life I wanted to have at this point.

I was at the park one day with my son and my little baby daughter. My three-year old did what three-year old kids do, he ran toward the street. So me being the mom I am went to run after him. Obviously, in the shape I was, there wasn’t a hope in hell of me catching that boy. Thank goodness person in the car stopped. But I will tell you at that moment when I felt so helpless watching him, the only thing that was in my head was that I will never be this helpless again. I will figure out how to run faster than him. And that was it. I will run faster than him.

Commit and Everything Shifts

What I did at that moment is what breaks the cycle of your own views and other people’s views that hold you down. I committed to something and things had to shift around me. That day I actually took out a home equity loan to pay for a trainer and nutritionist to come to my house three days a week for a year, non-refundable.  It was $12,000 and that was a lot of money for me when I was also launching my first business and had two little kids. I commit to something that was unreasonable and infeasible because that was the only way I was getting out of where I was at.  I made the commitment and things shifted around. I no longer have osteoarthritis and I no longer have Hashimoto thyroiditis. All of those tests come back negative. Now I am obviously not 280 and climbing.

So the power you have in this last and final practice that I’m leaving with you is the fact that if you actually commit, commitment survives no matter what we do. I can tell you that when the trainer and nutritionist showed up, I told them I don’t know what you’re going to do with me because I’m just showing you all the medical data and they say I’m screwed.  But because I was committed, I just kept searching and looking for other options to improve my health, to never feel helpless chasing a three-year old again. That was my commitment. I’m in power. My commitment has stood. My son is now 16 and yes, he can run faster than me, but it’s only because he’s six feet tall.