Empowering Our Leadership Skills by Walking Our Talk

Mar 15, 2022

Sometimes, the difference between reaching our goals or succumbing halfway has nothing to do with our skills or external factors but with our level of commitment. It might be that we think we want something, but actually, that thing might not be as important as we believe it is to us. 

Whether we realize it or not, our commitment fluctuates when we have multiple goals; it is higher for what is truly important to us, lower for what it isn't. The case might be that we have too many objectives, and perhaps it would be wise to get rid of some of them, or at least put them behind in our priority list. 

Still, regardless of how many goals we decide to prioritize, our commitment level depends entirely on one thing: clarity. 

In today's episode, our conversation revolves around commitment, goal achieving, and clarity. We talk about the different levels of dedication we put into things, why it is so hard to achieve goals when our attention is spread into several objectives, and how clarity affects our commitment levels. We also explore the infectious effect of making our actions match our clarity and vision, the importance of being at peace with failing, and more. 

In This Episode, You Will Learn:

  • Being 100% committed to our goals is easier than being 98% committed (2:16)
  • What our actions say about our commitment (5:22)
  • What is the difference between the goals we achieve and the ones we don't (8:10)
  • What I've learned from the experience of getting ready for the half IRONMAN triathlon (9:03)
  • What is the relationship between clarity and commitment (12:08)


  • Quote: Clayton M. Christensen - "It's easier to hold to your principles 100 percent of the time than it is to hold them 98% of the time."
  • TEDx Talk: Dr. Benjamin Hardy - "The 100 percent rule that will change your life."
  • Quote: Ralph Waldo Emerson - "What you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say."
  • Quote: Abraham Lincoln "Commitment is what transforms a promise into reality."
  • Coaching with Clint Consultation Call - Book Here
  • Download my free One-on-One Transformation tool

Let's Connect!


Clint Hoopes: Welcome to the Flavor of Leadership podcast. Thank you so much for being her once again with me today. We're going to start the show off today with a question, or a few questions actually. They're this: What are you committed to? What, in your life, are you all-in on? What is mission-critical in your life and your goals? What are those things that you will never let drop? Clayton Christensen was a famous business consultant and professor at the Harvard Business School. He's also well-known for writing the book, The Innovator’s Dilemma. Now, he said this: “It's easier to hold to your principles 100% of the time than it is to hold to them 98% of the time.” Now, when I was asking those questions earlier, there may have been some things that popped up in your mind: What are you 100% committed to in your life? What are you all-in on? And Clayton Christensen says that holding to your principles 100% of the time is easier than holding to them 98% of the time. Now, I believe that Clayton Christensen is talking about principles like he said, or your fundamental truths that are true to you, and these could be like honesty or integrity. But I also believe the same thing can be said about commitment. What things are you 100% committed on? Because it is so much easier to commit 100% than it is to commit 98%. If there's that room, that possibility of not being all-in, you'll miss it. You will miss it. You'll miss it sometimes. And it may stop you from continuing on. 

Now, being 100% committed to something – does that mean you're never going to miss it, so to speak, or mess up? No, it doesn't at all. But there is something to be said about being all-in versus being okay, with just being almost all-in. Dr. Benjamin Hardy, he's an organizational psychologist. Now, he shared this very thought about commitment in the same quote, in a very similar way, in his TEDx talk. Now, his TEDx talk was called “The 100% Rule That Will Change Your Life.” And I’ll put a link to that TEDx talk in the show notes – definitely worth checking out. In this, he expressed this thought in terms of changing bad habits, or in losing weight, or in figuring out how to improve your life in some of these ways. And he's talking about how 100% commitment is so much easier. Not giving yourself an out when you've already determined that this is a mission-critical item, an item that you want to be all-in on. 

Now, this is a fantastic thought for our personal lives, but what about our work goals and our work commitments? Now, I believe that our lives are all intertwined. The amount of effort that you use to be able to accomplish your goals in your personal life, that same effort, that same help, everything bleeds over into our professional life. It is one life for all of us. So, really, in the end, this applies perfectly to when we want to accomplish our work goals, our work commitments as well. 

How committed are we? I'm sure when I was asking those questions at the beginning about what are you most committed to, you probably thought of things like your family, or thought of things like we mentioned, honesty, integrity. These unequivocal values. These principles that you hold to. These are the things that you're all-in on. And then you may have went to some other parts of your life and thought, “Okay, am I really all-in on some of these other goals I have for myself?” Makes you start thinking of new year's resolutions. We've talked about that already this year. We're a few months into the year and how are you doing on your resolutions? How committed were you, really, when you set them? Hopefully you're still doing it. Hopefully, you're still doing this thing that you committed to, where you determined what's most important. But if not, what are your actions showing about your commitment level? If you stopped doing it, that says something about your commitment level. Does it mean that the actual goal or commitment wasn't worthwhile? No, not necessarily. It may have been the thing that would make the biggest difference in your life right now. But where was your commitment level? Something else has changed within you. 

Whenever we talk about commitments and talk about things, actually, always makes me think of the quote that's attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson. It's this quote, and you’ve probably heard it before: “What you do speak so loudly that I cannot hear what you say.” What you do speak so loudly that I cannot hear what you say. This sums up leadership. In the end, we have our employees at work. And we are trying to instil our vision, our goals, the things that we have for the organisation, to those that we lead. And in the end, what we do, our actions speak so loudly that people cannot hear the things that we're saying. But I'm telling you, when what we do matches what we say, that's power. That is power. And that is when things accelerate. That's when momentum truly starts happening; when our actions match up with what we say. 

So, 100% commitment to our goals does not mean 100% perfection, or 100% perfection and execution. It is about true intent, focus, and action. You don't have to be perfect in each one of those but people can feel your intent and your focus and how clear you are on these things. Your employees can sense it, you can sense it, your subconscious mind can sense it. What does your actual action show? What are you actually doing? What are the actual measurable results? These are the things we do with our employees; we hold them to these actual measurable results. What about ourselves? What do our actual measurable results show about our commitment to our goals? We talked about New Year's resolutions. So, a New Year's resolution that fails within weeks of the beginning of the year, what was the real commitment? Not high. What about the people that actually accomplished those goals? Because there are people out there. Many of you listening here today are high achievers and you accomplish your goals. You commit, you make it happen. So, what's the difference between the goals that you commit to in your life that you actually achieve versus the ones that you don't? What makes the difference? Why do you care more about others, other goals, versus some of the goals that you fail at? What is the difference? Really, in the end, so much of it is about vision, and clarity. You have to have the vision and the clarity before you can have the commitment. It's the same with the employees, we talk about helping them see a clearer vision, helping them know how they're measured. They have to know what a good job looks like in order to do that good job. They have to know what it looks like before they commit. 

Makes me think about years ago. I was running, I was preparing for 70.3 Half Ironman Triathlon. And so this is a long race, and I had never done a race that long, a triathlon that long. I had only done some of the smaller races. And so this was going to be a very big commitment for me. And I really had to envision what I was going to do, by watching videos online, I did differently. I did everything I could to envision myself succeeding in this goal. And so I started about nine months ahead of time, and I'm like, “Okay, I'm doing this. I'm committing.” I pictured in my mind what it was going to look like. I knew what I had to work on. I wasn't a very good swimmer, to be honest with you. Of course, I could swim, I grew up swimming. But those of you that are swimmers out there know the difference between not drowning and actually swimming effectively. And there was a big difference. So, I spent much of that time learning to swim well and swim more effectively. And so I got a lot better at swimming, as well as cycling, as well as running – all those different things you had to work on, and then put them all together. And in the end, I learned about my commitment level, because that was a big commitment. I determined in my mind what it was going to feel like. I saw it in my head. Now, I wasn't going to compete to try and get on the podium or anything. I knew I wasn't going to get to that point, that wasn't my goal. My goal was to get through it, and enjoy it. Not simply just get through it, but actually enjoy the race. And a big part of that being able to be a success and be able to complete that race, was seeing it before envisioning what my goal was, knowing clearly what I actually wanted to do, and running that through my mind over and over again and having a clear vision. 

So, what about you? When you're looking at your work goals, do you have a clear vision in your mind? Do you know what it looks like? What it’s going feel like when you accomplish that goal? What about your people? Are they clear about it as well? Because if you're not clear, they can't be clear. If you're the one communicating the vision, their commitment level, their clarity can never be any higher than yours. It seems pretty obvious, but it can be profound. If you are not very clear than they are less clear than you, and less committed than you as a leader. But when you're all-in and your actions match your clarity and your vision, people can't help but follow. They can sense it. They know what the top goal is. They know what's most important. And when you're all-in, they can't help but be all-in as well, at least the good people; the ones that you want on your team; the ones that are going to help you get where you need to go. Those people will follow. 

What about the number of things you're committed to. How many things can you be committed to at once? Because that can be confusing to your employees as well. And it can be confusing to yourself. You see so many things that need to happen, but which ones are the most important? Do you know what they are? Do you know what they are for you in your personal life? Do they know what they are for you at work? Do your employees in turn with you as the leader, do they know what is most important to you as an organization, and then know what's most important to them in their roles? Do they understand, do they know how much clarity do they have? You cannot be any more committed than you have clarity. The clarity you have determines how committed you can actually be. 

So, how many things can you commit to? Now, this is tough. It changes person by person, but there are experts that have said different numbers, they've given different numbers. So, Michael Hyatt, he's a productivity expert, former CEO, very experienced leader. He says that having a “big three” in your goals – he talks about his big three – is all you can handle. He says doing more than than three goals at a time or three things you're focusing on, can get very difficult at any given day, week, or month. So, you have to be ultra-focused on no more than three things. He said, one or two or three, but not more. So, that's Michael Hyatt. But there are others like Gary Keller and Jay Papasan. They wrote the book called “The One Thing.” And you guessed it, how many do they say you should focus on? One. They said you can really only ever have one thing, one big goal. Now, there are going to be little steps that gets you to that one thing, but one ultimate goal, one ultimate vision. And they say, you must focus on that one thing above all else. 

Now, no matter what you do, if you have 15 things that you're focusing on, I've never seen a productivity expert say that 15 things is going to be doable for you, and you know that in your own life. You can't commit to 15 things or 10 things and be all-in.  Can you be 100% committed to that many things? I don't think so. Now, three things, two things, one thing, yes. When you think about your work life and those goals, I think you can. I think you can figure that out for yourself. What are you all in on? What are you committed to all the way? So, what are you going to commit to? Or what have you already committed to that you have to pull back and uncommit to? What do you have to stop doing in order to focus on the one two or three things that truly need your focus and attention in order to give it that 100% commitment that we talked about at the very beginning? Abraham Lincoln said this: “Commitment is what transforms a promise into reality.” So, if you want your commitment, your promise that you've made to actually become reality, you need to define much more clearly. What is the promise you're making? What is the ultimate goal? And then change your level of commitment. Change your level of commitment from being okay, knowing that you could fail, to having failure not be an option – 100% commitment. Doesn't mean that you won't mess up or miss things every once in a while, but the ultimate goal of getting where you want to be is non-negotiable in your mind. And that will change things, that will make things happen. That vision that you think of in your mind, it will become a reality, and you know it will become reality, because you are focused all-in on that goal. 

So, what is your goal? Can you see it in your head so clearly that you cannot help but commit to it? It is so clear you cannot help but commit to that goal, and then your actions will follow suit. Your actions will follow that commitment and that clarity. And then your employees cannot help but follow as well. And they will feel the passion, and they will feel the commitment that you have. So, now, all there is, is to decide what that is. Get the vision and commit 100%, not 98. You got this. I know it. Until next week.