Do What You Say – An All-important Key to Getting Ahead By Josh Hinds

There are any number of things that will either propel you forward, or hold you back when it comes to getting ahead in your professional and personal life. Therefore, it’s particularly perplexing for me to witness those people who have an inability to avoid the temptation to make promises, or simply tell people what they think they want to hear, then for whatever reason not deliver on what they said.

With the path to greater success often a challenging maze at times, this particular character trait is one that can be fairly easily avoided. Yet, if a person does this, they will absolutely (sooner, if not later) sabotage themselves professionally and personally. People simply do not want to do business with, nor in many cases be friends with or associate with those who for whatever reason simply can’t deliver on what they say they will do.

I want to make one very clear distinction on what I said above. I am NOT saying that you have to try and make everyone happy. Even if you tried, you couldn’t deliver on everything people will ask of you. What I am saying is that if you make an arrangement with someone, or tell them you will do something, if you really want to succeed, and not have it work against you in the future you MUST do your dead-level best to deliver on whatever it was you agreed to do.

Again, there will be times when try as you might, you fall short. In those times admit you did, reach out and make an apology. The next time around work on not repeating the same mistake.

While you may never reach the point where you are able to deliver on 100% of the commitments you make (try as you might), striving not to do so will help you ensure that you’re a lot closer to never doing so, then if you haphazardly run around letting your mouth write checks that you have no actual intention of following through on, whether by choice, or out of genuinely just not thinking about it.

The thing you must remember is, whether intentional or not, the result is often the same… your credibility suffers, and eventually you will garner the reputation as someone who, while they might be a nice person simply can’t be counted on to do what they say. Believe me, it’s a label you don’t want to wear, and with it being relatively easy to avoid there’s no excuse for you to have to do so.

Going forward be honest with yourself. If you fall into the trap that I’ve described above, starting now begin to develop habits that will take you from that person to one who at the very least genuinely tries to follow through on what they promise. Whether it’s something as simple as returning an email or call that you’ve committed to, or something far more important like handling a part of the sales process, or showing up to a family function. The point is, follow through if you said you would.

Depending on how long this has been a part of your character traits it may be easier said then done to replace your old negative habits with different ones, but you must stick with it until you do. Not to do so will limit you in ways you simply can’t imagine. The people who hold life’s great opportunities will steer clear of those who are branded with the label of not doing what they say.

Being aware is one of the most important things you can do to ensure you follow through on what you say you will. The moment that you think about it, you can choose to do what needs to be done — and if you’re honest with yourself you’ll admit there’s always that moment where you think to yourself about the thing which needs to be done. In the end it’s whether you chose to ignore taking action on it or not that makes the difference.

Keeping simple reminders is another easy way to make sure you follow through on what you say you’ll do. If you’re truly bogged down to the point that you can’t break free and do it yourself, set up a system where someone does it for you, delegate out the task, but no matter what, make sure it gets done! Your credibility is simply to important to not take this serious.

Again, this isn’t coming from someone who makes the claim to never have fallen short myself. Though I do hope that far more often I’ve delivered on what I say, then there are instances where I have done otherwise. Remember what I said earlier, I’m not suggesting that you have to commit to helping out or doing everything that’s asked of you, rather I’m saying that if you accept a request from someone, or offer your help, it’s at that point that you need to do your best to follow through.

In closing consider the following…

Over the years (FYI. my first exposure to business and entrepreneurship was at 15 when I began working in our family business) I have seen numerous people who mistakenly believed that making a promise, whether they could actually deliver on it or not, would somehow win them favor. Sadly, in many cases it not only worked against them, it also left a bad taste in the mouth of the client or customer, for the entire business, even though it was actually just that one person who was at fault. Perhaps worst of all is that in most cases the promise that was made didn’t even have to be committed to at all. The client would have been just as happy either way.

The solution is simple…

Make a habit of under-promising and over delivering. If you can do that you’ll find that more often than not you have happy customers, and when it comes to your personal life you’ll have an abundance of family and friends who appreciate you, and show it!

Making a promise just because it makes you look good — if you’re unable to deliver on it, or even worse, simply have no intention of actually doing so, has the potential to back fire on you in ways you simply can’t imagine. Don’t take that chance — your level of achievement depends on it.

It’s your life, LIVE BIG!

Josh Hinds

-What do you think of the ideas above? Your feedback is always appreciated in the comments below.

P.S. If you enjoyed the above article you’ll love my motivational audio CD, ‘Why Perfect Timing is a Myth‘, it’s the perfect tool to keep you inspired and motivated as you move forward on your success journey!

  • Hi Josh,

    If someone would ask me, and I’d know I can do something with his/her issue, I would say: I won’t promise you anything, but there is one thing I can do – I can do my best… and then I would do my best.

  • Daiysexpress

    Hi Josh

    Great article. I have been infamous for trying to please others. My “intentions” are always really sincere. Of course, the expectations are so high that I quite often miss the target even though I have done my best. The result, upset parties on both sides. I am at my shop early this am to make sure I deliver on another promise that is way beyond what is expected. I was just thinking on the drive in that enough is enough. No more promises… more getting talked into things….no more trying to please the masses…..Then I opened the email…lol….thanks Josh. Sheryl

  • Victoria

    this is what I needed today for I have someone trying to guilt me into doing something that I really do not want to do and that I had commited to do something with someone else so this will help me not fell guilty about not commiting to do what I do not want to do and do what i commited to do
    thank you

  • Isaiah weboya

    Dear Josh,
    This is real. Thanks for this gospel. basing on this, I absolutely have to work on my promises.

    Thank you

  • Lukasz, that’s a great response. I like the way you say “there’s one thing you can do, do your best”. So true. Keeping the lines of communication open will do wonders for making sure others know we’re trying our best for them, while at the same time not making promises we can’t deliver on.

  • Isaiah, you’re very welcome. Being aware of what we want to (need to) work on in and of itself is a powerful helper when it comes to improving. Listen to the gentle reminder of your inner voice whenever it shows up and you’ll find that you’re making progress in whatever area you happen to be working on.

    All the best,
    Josh 🙂

  • Sheryl, you’re certainly not alone I am sure. I think the key is that you’re trying to sincerely do your best. There will be those times when you just can’t deliver as much as you’d like to. Try to get to the person who the unkept agreement will effect and let them know the situation. In some cases you’ll find that by keeping the person in the loop, they will help you resolve the situation. Of course it’s important to that it’s not a regular occurrence.

    One simple, but helpful thing to change that might be to place a series of sticky notes in places that you’re sure to see. I admit it sounds overly simple, but little reminders might be all your need.

    Also, consider the ideas shared below from Lukasz Paluch: who said, “I would say: I won’t promise you anything, but there is one thing I can do – I can do my best… and then I would do my best.”

    I wish you all the best…

    And remember.

    It’s your life, LIVE BIG!
    Josh 🙂

  • Victoria, you’re welcome. I’m glad you enjoyed the article, and that it was timely for you 🙂


  • Thanks Josh. No promises are better then broken promises. BTW – great article.

  • You are so right!

    Also, thank you I appreciate you letting me know you enjoyed the article 🙂

  • Thanks for sharing these timely and wise words of wisdom, Josh.

    With Gratitude ~

    Sandy Harper 🙂

  • Thanks Sandy. Glad you enjoyed it 🙂

    I really appreciate your support of my work.


  • Akyyevao

    my ex needs to read this :)…that was always big issue for me that he would always romise to do things and never keep his word.. that is the most irritating thing people can do to each other… it just kills me when people promise and dont do…. rather keep guite :)….. thanks for article ,was good reading it!!!

  • I’m glad you appreciated the article. I think the ideas would be a good reminder for everyone to read over every now and again. As I wrote in the article, I don’t claim to not have moments where I don’t fall short on this, but I try not too. And trying, and being aware can go along way towards making sure you stay on track.

    All the best,
    Josh 🙂

  • Thank you for sharing this article. I was always taught to Promise only what you can deliver and then over deliver on that. I appreciated reading this article. Thanks again.

  • That was a great lesson to learn 🙂 I’m glad you enjoyed the article.

    Thanks for your support,