The Value of your Word

How much is your “word” worth? Well, I think in order to assign a value, tangible or otherwise, we must first understand what is being asked. Keeping your word, in essence, is making a promise to do something and, when you don’t live up to your word, you are in effect, breaking your promise. It’s really that simple…

So now, I ask again, how much is your “word” worth? To some, it means everything and to others, myself specifically, it had a value that I didn’t really understand. You see, I have always thought of myself as someone who would generally keep his word, and, for the most part, I would. However, there were times when I did not and unfortunately, I failed to understand the impact of my actions. More importantly, what I didn’t realize is the effect “breaking a promise”, regardless of how small, was having on the person I made the promise to. You see, this is ultimately where the most damage is done – we fail to understand the perspective of those whom we are letting down. Many times, we justify our actions by saying things like, “it’s okay, I’ll make it up to them next time” and, what we don’t realize is that, the opportunity to “make it up to them” may not be made available to us.

Unfortunately, I lost a dear friend of mine as a result of my not understanding what was important to them – that keeping your word is ultimately a reflection of one’s integrity and character. Needless to say, this has been one of the most difficult lessons of my life and something that I will be dealing with for a long time to come. So, as you can see by my poor example, not keeping your word could result in some serious consequences. Nonetheless, I am thankful for learning the lesson as it has made me a better person.

I encourage all of you to ask yourself the question, “How much is my word worth – specifically to me and to those I interact with?” Only then will you understand its real value and further understand its importance as a reflection of your integrity and character. Remember, a wise man learns from his mistakes but a wiser man, learns from other’s. Don’t make the mistake I made… and if you have, do whatever it takes to make it right.

“Character, not circumstances, makes the man.” – Booker T. Washington

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