I always thought of myself as reliable and true to my word. If I say I’m going to do something for someone- whether it’s as simple as a phone call or an errand to run, or a task to complete, I get it done. And if for some reason I fall a bit behind schedule, I do the responsible thing and let the person know. But I don’t give up on the task. I just set a new deadline. Either way, it almost always gets finished. This is because the job or friends or people for whom I am getting these jobs or errands or favors done are important to me.
So why is it that I don’t always place the same value or give as much commitment to myself? Why is it that when given the choice to get something done for someone else rather than something I promised I would get done for myself, I choose the other person first? Why is it easier to keep promises to others and not to ourselves?
Years ago, I was in New York taking a writing course. It had me inspired and excited so much so that when I found out that I could register for another workshop at the same school, I shared the news with my instructor. I told her that I was originally planning to go on a trip to Argentina, but I wanted to stay committed to my writing and to learning so could put off the trip to another time.
She looked at me for a moment and didn’t say anything for a few seconds. Then she said one of the best pieces of advice she received from a former writing teacher herself was, “Don’t become a workshop tramp.”