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  • Writer's pictureAmanda Chen

on keeping a commitment to yourself

Today I want to talk about keeping a commitment to yourself. Commitment is not something we just throw around, we do this out of loyalty and respect. We are so quick to make commitments for work or for others, always telling ourselves we'll get to ourselves at the end when everyone else is covered. If a commitment reflects loyalty and respect, why do we choose to break commitments to the one person that matters most? Keeping a commitment to yourself is the highest form of self love.

I often think about the days when I started my own business, Salty Paloma, and the mindset I had about turning it from just an idea or hobby into a real business that made money and gave me financial freedom to never have to work for anyone ever again. Great goals, right? Do whatever it takes to be your own boss, show everyone you can do it all on your own, blah blah blah. But there was something deeply sad about this that we don’t talk about enough. The fact that where I am today isn’t good enough, that I am not happy, and I won’t be deserving of happiness until I complete all these things. I felt like I had no other choice. There was no turning bak after I've made this commitment to myself and that is a very dangerous place to be. Think of a young athlete who believes his whole life is all about going Pro and spends all his time training to reach that goal. But then gets into an accident and learns he can never play again. If there is only one way to happiness and you have to prove it in order to have it, there won’t be enough happiness in the world to go around.

Every day I debated whether or not to shut down my business. I thought it wasn’t doing well enough, I might was well quit now while I’m ahead. For fear of failing, for fear of it tanking, I'd rather run out. Like a coward. Then I'd think to all the things I don’t want, working for someone, admitting I quit, accepting that I truly am a coward, and I had too much pride so I kept going. This isn’t healthy.

My definition of success was I had to keep going because this is who I am. I am not the person that gives up. All of this would be for nothing if I stopped now. I remember last year when the pandemic began and we were in lockdown and I was forced to stop. I wanted to rest, but everyone I knew was pushing me to keep going. Pivot your business, try a new avenue, go virtual, etc. And I felt this immense pressure to respond with yes, we are now doing this! Within 7 days I had already launched a new service, made all the announcements on social media and even added a free Instagram live to show my face. But why do we push people as a way to express our love and care for others? Hurrying doesn’t motivate.

And I hated myself at every moment because I didn’t enjoy what I was doing. I was literally just doing this because I felt that was what entrepreneurs like me do. We act. We are always one step ahead. The hustle mentality is a great one to have. It made me work my ass off, practice impeccable work ethic and discipline, but the problem with that never-ending workaholic mentality is I never gave myself permission to rest.

These days commitments to myself sound a very different. My commitment is to check in and ensure I give myself time to process everything. I am never in a hurry to make a decision anymore. I never rush myself if I don’t know how I’m feeling about something. We always seem to need to know the answer before it comes, and thats when we feel a lot of regret or guilt for thinking and acting too quickly.

The beauty of the 100 Masked Men Series is that I haven’t created any measurement of success that is outside of myself. I don’t care if these men like me before, during or after our interview together. I don’t care if anyone listens to the podcast. I don’t care if I make money out of it, if I get sponsors, if I get clients. None of these are factors that compel me to keep going. Measurements of success are if I can get the interviews to move into tough topics faster. If I can get interviewees to be vulnerable and express themselves. If I can share any insights or personal anecdotes that arise from their sharing. But generally, if I’m having fun and growing in the process. Why isn’t happiness a success metric? Why isn’t fun a success metric? Why isn’t personal growth and just the sheer celebration that you did it, the one and only measurement for success? If that was the case, you could celebrate waking up every morning. You could celebrate breathing every day. We forget how incredible it is to just be alive today because we are so focused on the next goal, thinking if we complete that task it’ll take us closer to happiness. Guys, we’re already there.

Keeping a commitment works best when done with compassion. There aren’t any hard deadlines, there are no rules, just an open invitation to do something that you feel close to your heart. There are no other reasons besides this will make your heart happy.

This is how I approach my coaching practice. I remember when I would look at the goals we set, disappointed that my clients weren’t more ambitious like me. I’d want them to get there faster, be stronger, kill it. And then I realized that was my own projection. What may seem like the smallest step for me could be the biggest leap for them. And in that vulnerability, in that trust, that this is a really big deal, we can’t continue with force. We have to give compassion, because this is going to take a lot of bravery and courage to keep going.

And sometimes, actually most times, things don’t go according to plans. Take this episode, I wanted to publish it on the weekend, but the words I wanted wouldn’t come out, so I let myself rest and the words found their way today. It’s one thing to set deadlines to help you stay focused, but what we don’t talk about enough is giving ourself the compassion to let things happen naturally.

Prefer to listen? Check it out on my podcast here:

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