Lesson 28: Keep your promises

Be a person whose word has value.  No one can see what is going on in your mind.  Even the best readers of facial expressions and body languages are going off a best guess.  The things you say need to be backed up by your actions and failure to do so can be disastrous.  The value of your word can be irreversibly damaged if you don’t follow through so it is in your best interest to say what you mean and to truly mean what you say.  Don’t make promises that you can’t keep.  It is understandable that sometimes, emergencies happen and there is nothing you can do.  Just understand that a plausible excuse to you is not necessarily a plausible excuse to others.

Your word is the strongest currency you possess.  In a lot of ways, it is the only real currency that you possess.  It can not be emphasized strongly enough.  Your word is your bond and your ability to keep your promises, no matter who they are to, is make or break on every occasion.  This is where trust is either built or destroyed.  It is a constant battle and is never truly over.  In some cases, it can take years to build a strong foundation.  Unfortunately, no matter how strong the foundation, it can be destroyed in a single moment.  All it takes is one mistake.  One failure.  One broken promise.  Once a promise has been broken, the capacity for broken promises has been established.

Most importantly, it is the polite and respectful thing to do.  Whether you believe it or not, honor matters.  You can see it and feel it when you are near someone that has it.  Those are the type of people you want to be around.  Those are the types of people that they want around them.  Words are more powerful than people tend to give them credit for.  At the end of the day, your word is the only currency you have that is based solely on your actions.  You have complete power and control over them.  What you do is noticed and it says a lot about you.  Ask yourself how you want people to see you.  Trustworthy or not?  Those are the only choices.

I am going to say it again, never make a promise you can’t keep.  I understand, as well as most reasonable people, emergencies come up.  Life is full of the unexpected.  The only constant thing in life is change.  This is where the strength of that foundation is put to the test.  In a relationship where there is a strong foundation of trust and kept promises, it takes more than an emergency to demolish the value of your word.  Unexpected things happen, accidents occur, emergencies take precedent, whatever the case may be.  The more value that your word has, the more likely that events like these will have little impact on the relationship.

Having built enough trust, and demonstrating to people that you are a person of character and that your word is absolute, it is understandable that had that emergency or unforeseen circumstance not occurred, you would have followed through without question.  It is more likely that you would be expected to take care of the emergency first because the other person knows that under no other circumstance would you ever allow your word to be broken.  It is important to constantly strengthen the currency that is your word by always following through, no matter the discomfort or inconvenience.  The stronger the value of your word, the more understanding you receive when unexpected things happen.

Your word goes far beyond just mattering in your personal relationships.  It has a significant impact on your professional relationships as well.  People like to work with others who are dependable.  No one likes a flake and no one enjoys carrying the weight of someone that they know is deliberately not pulling their weight.  No one likes to work in any environment with someone they can’t trust.  Don’t be that person.  Be the person that anyone could go to for anything and know full well that you are the right person to go to.  Make every word count.  Make every word valuable.


  1. Your word is the most valuable thing you possess.
  2. Your honor and integrity matter.
  3. The stronger the foundation of trust, the longer the bond will last.
  4. Never make a promise you can’t keep.
  5. No one wants to be around a flake.

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