You have probably heard the saying, “If you want to change your life, change your mind.” But it takes more than just changing your mind; it takes changing your mindset. A successful life or a successful business requires developing success mindsets, or habits of thinking. The definition of “mindset” is “a fixed mental attitude or disposition that predetermines a person’s responses to and interpretations of situations; an inclination or habit.”
For success, one of the key mindsets to develop is that of a promise keeper. You may not realize this, but when you set goals, you are actually making promises to yourself. When you make promises to yourself (or to others) you are making a declaration of what you will or will not do; you are making a commitment or a pledge to something.
The challenge is that many times we set these goals, or make the promises to ourselves, but fail to follow through. Maybe you made a promise to yourself a few years ago that you would not be a “refi addict” but would instead focus on purchase business. You knew that if you kept this promise to yourself, when (not if—but when!) the market turned and rates went up, it would not greatly affect your production numbers. Maybe it was a promise to yourself to get in shape, save money, get out of debt, close more loans.
But today, you might realize that you are no closer to success in these areas than you were two years ago. You know in your heart, you have broken your promise to yourself. The challenge is you have to do more than just change your mind; you must change your mindset. You must develop the habit of thinking as a promise keeper and not a promise breaker.
To develop the mindset of a promise keeper, it requires a resolution so deep; I call it “stepping over the line.” This phrase indicates that you have committed to a goal and you refuse to change your mind. It means that you have taken a stand and no matter what obstacles you encounter, you will push forward to achieve that goal.
It was March 5, 1836, and Col. William Barrett Travis had known for several days that his situation inside the old Spanish mission called the Alamo had become hopeless. Several thousand soldiers under the command of Mexican Gen. Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna had Travis and 189 others surrounded. Legend has it that Travis gathered his men and shared with them what he thought were their three remaining choices: Surrender, attempt to escape, or “remain in this fort…resist every assault, and to sell our lives as dearly as possible.”
Unsheathing his sword, Travis drew a line on the ground before his battle-weary men. In a voice trembling with emotion he described the hopelessness of their plight and said, “Those prepared to give their lives in freedom’s cause, come over to me.” Without hesitation, every man, except two, crossed the line. One ran away, and the other, Col. James Bowie, suffering with pneumonia, asked that his cot be carried over.
As the Texas historian, J. Frank Dobie, put it, “It is a line that not all the piety nor wit of research will ever blot out. It is a grand canyon cut into the bedrock of human emotions and historical impulses.” This line-in-the-sand metaphor shows that making a courageous decision often carries a high price, but it is that courageous decision which usually proves to be the right one.
Making the right decision may cost you dearly, but someday you will be remembered for doing the right thing by stepping over that figurative line in the sand.
If for many years you have made promises to yourself and to others that you know you have not kept, consider stepping over the line today. Make a decision that you will take action on your promises and implement new and non-negotiable disciplines into your daily routine which will help you to reach those goals.
Be determined. Be steadfast. Be a promise keeper.