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  • Writer's pictureJosh Wymore

1+1: Keep promises to yourself first + addicted to pleasure

Updated: Dec 20, 2023

Hey there! Here’s one leadership idea and one resource I’ve found beneficial this week:

1 idea: Keep promises to yourself first

As we make and keep commitments, even small commitments, we begin to establish an inner integrity that gives us the awareness of self-control and the courage and strength to accept more of the responsibility for our own lives. By making and keeping promises to ourselves and others, little by little, our honor becomes greater than our moods.” – Stephen Covey One of my coaching clients ran into this problem a year ago. He was so committed to serving his team that he neglected doing the things only he could do. He’d dive in and solve problems for everyone but get so caught up in fighting fires that he failed to follow through on other things he committed to. This problem came up in his 360 results. His team loved the passion and values he brought to his role. They knew he cared about them. But when they were asked if he spent his time on the most important priorities and did what he said he would do, the response was lackluster. In his efforts to keep promises to other people, he had been breaking promises he made to himself. He wasn’t coaching his leaders, filling vacant positions, or having tough conversations with poor performers. While his intentions were noble, his behaviors were ineffective.

That began to change once he started making and keeping commitments to himself. He started blocking off time to work on his long-term priorities. As he kept those commitments, he found that he had fewer fires to fight. Soon he was able to think ahead and delegate to team members, then coach them through their new responsibilities. After one year of keeping promises to himself, he’s now delivering significantly more value to his team and organization. (And he enjoys his job way more.)


Ask yourself:

  • What promises have I broken to myself recently?

  • What’s a commitment to myself I need to make but haven’t?

  • What would the benefit be to others if I kept this commitment?

1 resource: Addicted to pleasure

One of the reasons it's so hard to get out of fire-fighting mode is that the constant stimulation can be addicting. But here's an even weirder fact: pleasure itself can be addicting, and too much of it can actually be bad for you. As Stanford psychiatrist Anna Lembke argues in this podcast, constantly seeking stimulation and pleasurable experiences could actually lead to depression, anxiety, and addiction. Instead, some degree of boredom, discomfort, and fasting is actually critical for our well-being.


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