OK.. So by the title of this… it may get deep real quick, but allow me to paint a picture. In the financial world, how many of you have come across or dealt with a person who have made false promises or cheated for personal gain? Perhaps, most of us?
On the contrary, how many have come across a person that have committed to their part of a bargain? I know I have and it is wonderful! More times than not, you can trust their “no” as good as you can, their “yes.”
From the simplest “yes” to a coffee date, meeting deadlines at work, to making payment obligations on time, I find that one of most crucial financial decisions you can make is keeping your word. This is one of those things that you do not have to wait to get rich for and is indirectly monetized. It truly does not matter how much money have in your account, financial integrity is extremely invaluable.
I have been on both sides of the coin- where with good intention, over committing to one too many “yeses” or boldly saying “no” because I cannot or simply will not make certain commitments.
One of my favorite quotes that encompasses this whole message:
“Integrity is hard earned but easily spent” -Anonymous
I love this because it is so easy to look at a person with integrity and think “that there- is a good person!” When in reality, that person has built there character through thousands of committed “yeses” and “nos.” Eh em… and “nos.” Learning where to draw the line takes time and plenty of practice!
Here are some tips I offer from my own personal journey to building financial integrity:
1. Make “No” an Option (without excuse)
My friends, allow me to introduce the “no” button! Sometimes we over commit because we think that “no” is not an option. We think “they are asking me, so I must do it” or [at minimum] find a way to commit. Saying “yes” when you know you should say “no” will only cause added stress. And to say “no,” you do not need a “good enough” or any excuse for that matter. I [so] understand how hard it can be to fight against the current and elect “no” as an answer, but it gets easier with practice… And the people who may not understand will eventually learn to respect and trust when you can or cannot commit to something. You may even motivate the same person to say “no” sometimes, too.
2. Practice Committing to the Smaller “Yeses”
Commit to the smaller “yeses” first. The ones no one ever sees! These smaller ones are so crucial to the bigger picture. For example, if you say “I am going to wake up early and read tomorrow morning,” do so. As you commit to those smaller “yeses” you will feel a sense of achievement that will take public notice as you commit to the bigger “yeses.”
3. Learn Your Limits
Learning when you should or should not say “yes” is an ongoing process and changes depending on your season of life. Your limit while your going through university, serving in your community, transitioning for a promotion at work, caring for a loved one will differ. It is OK if your commitments look different and change with your season of life.
4. Quick to Listen, Slow to Speak
Ever notice how easy it is to say “yes?” There is hardly any work to do it. As tempting as it is to respond quickly, I suggest saying “let me take some time to think about it.” Even if you do not have other plans, take some time to think about it. Similarly stated in my “Cheerful Giver” post, decide in your heart whether you would like to commit or not, then respond.
5. Follow Through
Finally, this is where the true work comes in- what pieces it all together! Follow through with your commitment. This seems simple enough. But, let me tell you, it is tough! Why? When you said yes, maybe it was convenient… then, the time has come and you are tired or another plan seems more appealing. But, the reward is so much higher in this very step. This is much larger than you know! Remember that person who followed through to their word? Who held up their end of the deal? How it made you feel valuable? YOU can can be THAT PERSON.
It begins with the committed thousands of small “yeses” that allows people to entrust you with the much larger decisions.