When I interview someone, I listen for what interest me and explore it. While Marlene Chism chatted in my ear, I scribbled her statement, “If you can find an exception, it’s time to change the commitment.”
The idea of changing a commitment troubled me.
My interviewing style is circular. If a topic interests me, I’ll wait awhile and then get back to it. After a while, I said, “Are you ok with this statement?”
“If you can find an exception, it’s time to change the commitment.” Marlene said, “Yes.”
Finding clarity is both pleasure and pain. Clarity is necessary for us to, as Bill George would say, “Find our true North.” It’s a joy. On the other hand, it’s a kick in the gut because clarity exposes inconsistencies.
The day after our conversation, I quoted Marlene’s statement to my wife. She instantly got it. We both thought about our life together. I used to think I was committed to make her happy. Of course, no one can “make” anyone happy. The best I can say is I want her to be happy.
We’re at that stage in life where meaning and purpose mean something; where finding ourselves and finding each other matters. The kids are grown and gone.
I’m committed to building a meaningful life together; no buts.
What about leadership:
Exceptions define commitments. They help us see who we are, understand our values, and set a course into the future. Living in exceptions, on the other hand, keeps us in the past.
Become the leader you are meant to be by finding your place of no exceptions; where there’s nothing to prove, defend, or explain.
“The one with clarity navigates the ship,” Chism.
What is your place of no exceptions? What are your commitments?
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