because I said I would.


This is a promise card.  It’s a symbol of a commitment to do something for yourself or someone else.   It’s a pact, really.  The idea is to write the promise on the card and give the card to the person you are making the promise to.  When you fulfill your promise, that person gives the card back to you as a token that you are a person of your word.

As I was searching for a keynote speaker for this year’s Dinner, I came across a man named Alex Sheen.  Two years ago, Alex founded a social movement and organization called because I said I would.  He came up with the idea of the promise card and began shipping packs of 10 to anyone who requests them, anywhere in the world, at no charge.  He has inspired me and his movement has become part of my personal philosophy.  For more about Alex and his org, I invite you to Click Here.

This year, in particular, I’ve discovered that I really stink at doing the things I say I’m going to do.  I’m offering no excuses, just accountability.  I don’t think I’ve always been this bad.  Either that or I’m paying closer attention.  Maybe both.  But, boy oh boy.  I have some work to do.

The good news is that I recognize that I’m falling short and that I need to make some changes.  Part of my lack of follow through is that I need to:
a) manage my time better
b) take action on the little things that can be done quickly instead of putting them on the  “to do” list.  The great Daniel Pink suggests that “if you’ve got something to do that takes less than two minutes, do it right now.”
c) take care of myself and impose quality “me” time (my priest was actually the latest in a long line of people telling me this)
d) stop doing things that are not in my wheelhouse and sap my energy and happiness
e) stop saying “I don’t have time”.  Of course I do. I have the same amount of time as everyone else–24 hours. How I choose to fill them is up to me…not my circumstances.

Hence, I’m making some promises to myself to help me become a more responsive, productive and accountable person.

Some of these promises, like B, are more easy to fulfill than others.  Some, like D, require more aggressive change.  And that’s where my big news lies.  As of the new year, I’ll have a new job with another nonprofit leader in the community.  I love the mission of my current employer dearly, but after three years, I just don’t feel like I’m making a difference.  That’s something I’ve never experienced professionally, especially after three years on the job.  Yes,  I’ve orchestrated fundraising channels that have raised a lot of money.  But, while I’m very good at my job, I don’t feel like the work I’m doing is having any real, tangible impact and that saps the energy and happiness out of me.

So, onward.  My new position gets me back where I belong;  connecting people to opportunities that enrich their lives and the lives of others. The organization I’m moving to, Opportunity Enterprises, is also very near and dear to me.  Marathon Man has run four Chicagos to raise money for them (he’ll run another marathon for them next year) and we both have been supporters/donors for many years.  I’m very excited to have the chance to use my strengths to share their story, grow their social enterprise lines of business and help more people with disabilities feel a sense of fulfillment and joy through work.

I’m committed to taking the actions needed become a more responsive, productive and accountable person...because I said I would.

Live.  Laugh.  Love.


One thought on “because I said I would.

  1. Hey! Congratulations! That is really awesome. I love OE. Their janitorial crew helps us out here at CSI, and when they gave their United Way presentation last month I found out all kinds of programs they offer I never knew about. That’s so exciting 🙂 I think a friend of mine from High School works there now, too.

    B is a good one. I swear it’s the difference between feeling like you’re doing alright vs being overwhelmed by little piddly crap all the time.

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