My daughter dreams of having a job. Caroline is 31-years-old but due to over 19 years of epileptic seizures, she has neurocognitive disorder. That makes her marketability kind of slim. Fortunately, there are options.

I took her to an intake meeting where she learned she could be part of a custodial team and benefit from the Ability One Program. On the way home from this initial interview, she talked with a posture more confident than usual. She was excited about the possibility of paying for her own groceries and making new friends at her very own place of employment. Her smile widened as she talked about having to decline the occasional invitation by saying words she has dreamt of, “I have to work.”

This meeting was on a Thursday morning. The kind lady who facilitated the process said to us, “I will find out what is available this afternoon and I will call you tomorrow.”

On Friday morning, with anticipation, Caroline started talking about when the lady might call. She was a tiny step closer to telling the world that she too has a job, helps to pay her way in this world. It was a big deal in the tough-fought journey of her life.

Around lunchtime, she began to check her phone. And she kept asking me to check mine. Friday at dinnertime, I told Caroline that the lady’s office was closed and I didn’t think she would be calling as promised.

Caroline continued the conversation with a question that rippled my conscience: “The lady said she would call us today, but she didn’t call. Why didn’t she call?”

As well as disappointed, Caroline was genuinely confused. But I had a different reaction. I didn’t necessarily expect the lady to call back the next day. I think we have lowered our expectations and diminished the value of a person’s word. But what really burned through me is that I know I have done the same thing — told someone I would call and failed to keep my word. Ouch.

The foundational principle I taught in high school leadership classes for years is clanging around my head and heart:
Your word is the most valuable thing you possess. No one can take away its value except you.

It’s time to raise the bar.

So……what about when something happens and we can’t keep our word? Ironically, it’s in those times that we have an opportunity to elevate trust and respect. With character and courage, simply take responsibility. Pick up the phone, or send the note and offer a short, genuine apology. No excuses, no white lies, just an accountable expression of regret.

That’s the Talk to the Brain™ Tip for today:
Keep your word.
And when you can’t keep your word:
Own it.

Let’s raise the bar by remembering that words are a commitment.

Words have impact.

What we may dismiss as a trivial comment could hold the power to change a life.

With love and cheers,

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