Saturday, January 5, 2008

A New Tool for Distinguishing Commitment in Any Area of Life

Last night was a blast!
We had seven people--5 men and 3 women--participated
3. The state of being bound emotionally or intellectually to a course of action or to another person or persons: a deep commitment to liberal policies; a profound commitment to the family. From
From the Core Value of a Medicine School at
"We define Commitment as a state of being in which one embraces the vision by choice and feels personally responsible to contribute to its accomplishments. We live this value by:
  • Pursuing the vision with energy and passion.
  • Developing the relationship necessary to achieve the vision.
  • Pursuing a path of lifelong learning that involves personal growth and development.
  • Supporting the growth and development of those around us.
  • Performing our job to the best of our ability and encouraging others to perform their jobs well.
  • Supporting and encouraging the efforts of others to accomplish the[ir] vision.
  • Persevering in our efforts to accomplish the vision when we are confronted by
  • Taking responsibility for accomplishing the tasks that are assigned to us"

The skateboard icon above is another version of commitment. The kind of commitment that is unreasonably devoted to making it work even when you have keep things together with masking tape. You still enjoy the ride and dare to risk it all for the adventure.

The Landmark Education definition: "Commitment begins an adventure. It is the backbone and driving force of achievement. Commitment is the triumph of possibility over all the reasons why 'it can't be done,' of creation over mere change. Commitment and the power of your word set new worlds into motion." (LE, 2004).
In everyday life, most of us simply assume we know what "commitment" means and never get back to a core definition or distinction about how it lives effectively in the world. How do you do being committed, or what is it to be BEING committed and what are its parts in your real life? I designed an exercise to make it real but first we began the evening sharing thoughts about what it already seems to mean in the black community or elsewhere in life.

One woman shared that because there is a lack of trust in the black community, there is little commitment. One brother said "I see more commitment to dating than to relationship...I've been taking a look at where I've been half assed in my relationships and now I am rechoosing to commit and reaping the benefits of that." Heru shared about the 80/20 percent rule regarding being committed.
Heru: When I was in a relationship that 20% I wasn't getting was so appealing I'd dash out of a relationship, and then when I wasn't in a relationship, I missed the 80%. This concept was so brilliantly articulated in the Tyler Perry's Why Did I Get Married? I didn't understand this 80/20 percent thing and I didn't have any older uncle to guide me in what I was going through. So, you're like learning on the fly messin' it up!

Nick: Then when you mess it up, they [the older men] say "That's how you do it!"

Heru adds: Well...that's how I [been doing] it!!! [More laughter. This time a more ironic laughter as if to say the old men are right but that's not what younger men really want].
Out of the event you can see just how much black men and women desire commitment, aspire to be committed, how they/we acknowledge commitment when we see and experience it.

I introduced a new distinction in SWTOS for COMMITMENT (see LABEL CLOUD). There are three levels of commitment:
  • 1st level: aspiring (you said it)
  • 2nd level: acknowledged (the opposite sex or others are saying it back to you)
  • 3rd level is experienced (it happened and was acknowledged to others; you are known for it by others).
The GET RELATED not DATED exercise involved a wheel chart I devised that looks like the sample of my chart to the left. Might be too small for your to see but I used the thought and talk bubbles in the DRAW tool in Word to capture conversations (monologue-1st level or dialogues-2nd and 3rd levels of commitment). You had to be there to get the full experience.

It's clear that I aspire to create audio podcasts from these events. Videopodcasting might be too intrusive. Anyone interested in assisting with this, contact me! Looking for partners in this game!!

I wish I could share all the intimacy, breakthrough insights, and love that was in the room last night. It was wonderful.
Let me share some of the basic feedback from my surveys from the end of the evening.

SCALE: 1 = Strongly disagree 3 = neutral 5 = Strongly agree
A. This evening was delightful and worth my time 4.8/5.0 = 96%
B. I experienced intimacy with the opposite sex 4.3/5.0 = 86%
C. I would recommend this event to friends/family 4.6/5.0 = 93%

About the guests: 3 females, 5 males
7 single, 1 divorced
Ages: 1 - 20s, 5 - 30s, 2 - 40s
Results thus far from participating: 2 of the men in the group are now in committed relationships since coming to SWTOS, 1 of the returning women is dating successfully towards being in a committed relationship, 1 women who is new to the group, her second time, is now in a committed relationship with another member.
Comments from the Surveys:
  • Male, 30-39: "Real intimacy!"
  • Male 40-40: "This core group gives insights that are useful & practical to day to day relationships."
  • Female 30-39: "This gets people talking & moving forward."
  • Male 20-29: "Got real flexible, deep life coaching."
I am committing myself to expanding this venture and getting it out to more people who I know would absolutely love the experience of sharing and the opportunity to invite feedback in areas where you are aspiring to be committed. We didn't just talk about romance and dating. It included career/business, social networking and communication, and even body image. One brother shared from his WHEEL OF COMMITMENT that he is aspiring to have have more guy friends and put that in a aspiring thought bubble.

I know I am onto something with this venture called SUCCESS with the OPPOSITE SEX: GET RELATED not DATED (TM). How to grow the venture into a thriving business is my next step.

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