Not sure if you're like me, but I break promises I make to myself way more than I fail to follow through on promises I make to others. This is pretty natural, I think.
It therefore makes some sense that if we want to up our chances for follow through, we should make more external commitments.
AND! If you want to amp up the misadventure-quotient (that's a measurable thing*), you can make a commitment to do something, or achieve something, or create something, that seems impossible at the moment that you make the promise. And extra credit if the commitment has teeth - skin in the game - like enrolling in your first marathon, or entering a story writing contest, or putting something at risk if you don't follow through.
Here's a recent example. I've been wanting to create a space where active writers worked together. A cool, enriching, tricked-out workspace filled with literary creatives. This was a tricky idea because most writers don't make very much money and can't afford market-rate office space. Coworking spaces are nothing new, but they're filled mostly with tech workers because they work for companies who can afford the space rental. It was also unlikely to succeed because I was relatively new to Lexington, KY and had not yet developed my writer network.
Had I started by creating a business plan, with financials and outlined all the barriers, it never would've happened. Instead, I tried the back-assward (technical term) approach.
First, secure the space. I asked the owner of a coworking space to show me some rockin' corner unit space. I told him I wanted that space. It was going to be pretty expensive.
Second, find a couple of writers who love the idea. I then started meeting with a few writers to share the concept and recruit partners. I was lucky to get a recommendation to contact two writers who were at the time barely acquaintances. BUT! We clicked and they loved the idea. They were in.
Three, do the stuff most people do first. When all where all in, we went back and figured out all the things that needed to happen to make this idea a real thing.
And it's a reality and I'm now the proud board chair for our legit nonprofit org., the Lexington Writer's Room. We've had some major challenges (covid!) but have created something truly special and better than the impossible vision I imagined. It's 650sqft of literary productivity wonderland, completed with snacks and a high-speed printer. Our member writers are delightful and talented.
I'm quite sure this would've never come to fruition had I approached the idea using a methodical and logical route. I got BACK to that approach, but not before I was in too deep to wimp out.
Promise, then Figure it Out
Personally, I'm just not motivated or disciplined enough to do things in the correct order. But if I put enough skin in the game, I somehow tap into my ability to make the impossible possible (perhaps this goes back to the 40% rule I blogged about earlier?).
Give this a try and tell me about it. I'm cooking up my next big promise now...
*Not measurable, but you'll feel the power of it.