I recently met someone who remarked that they admired my confidence and ability to speak in a big room, and said they’d like to learn how to do it. I suggested they call me, in fact insisted they make the move, and they said they would.
They didn’t call.
When I wrote to remind them I got a polite reply which detailed just how busy they’d been, but lacked any intention to reset the ambition.
Having made the statement and expressed the wish, they swiftly returned to their busy schedule and became like so many others out there. Full of good intention, apparently, fast to make a promise they then don’t fulfill, content to hide behind a vague excuse for not doing so, offering no apology for their omission, nor restating their desire.
Where has the wish gone? Was it even real in the first place.
What happens when, assuming they were right to indicate a need for confidence skills, the moment presents itself, the moment when they really need the confidence, yet they’ve done nothing to change, nothing to acquire what was seen as necessary, and realise the gap remains in a real moment of pressure, just when it would have helped?
When you identify a gap in skill or knowledge, confess it, ask for help, get the offer, and then do nothing about it, what does that say about you, and perhaps most crucially, what does it say about how you view yourself?
It’s commonplace behaviour, repeated many times in many places, by many people on most days. It’s almost the norm. Carry on doing it if you’re happy there, in the norm.
In following up, I wanted to understand the process someone follows when this happens. Is it acceptable to them or even briefly beneficial to them to express the wish for improvement, almost as if simply by doing that it somehow makes a difference? Were they playing to the crowd? Did they even mean it? It’s hard to know for sure, which is why the question is still hanging, awaiting a response.
What I do know is once again I have met yet another who says they’re going to do something, and then doesn’t do it.
In the 1987 film Wall Street, Gordon Gecko famously said “Lunch is for Wimps” when he mocked those who took a break in the middle of the working day. Here we are 30 years later and people are still using the equivalent of “Let’s do Lunch” as a meaningless statement without commitment, most likely to be lacking in any intention for subsequent action.
“I’ll call you” is hardly open to misinterpretation, but do you genuinely believe you’ve witnessed an intention if it’s said to you? If you’re the one who’s quick to promise, and don’t deliver, you need to stop saying it, because you’re forming a reputation for yourself. You may think it won’t matter, but it will, and it’ll matter when it matters most, just like not following through. You’ll be known as someone who doesn’t do what they say they’ll do, because if you do promise to call someone, it may seem inconsequential and unimportant, but they’ll remember it when you don’t deliver and they’ll remember when you ask them for their business. They will, I do.
Much better then to be honest with your promises, and start small; why not try “Let’s not do lunch”? While it isn’t something you’ll probably say, it would be an improvement to a false promise you have no intention of following up on. Become known as someone who does what they say they will do … if you want to be believed.