During one of my morning walks at the Massamba-Debat stadium in Brazzaville recently, I met an impressive and highly motivated group of young people training for the upcoming African Games that will be held in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo in September 2015.
The athletes I chatted with at the end were all training for the 100m sprint category. Their zeal and passion were simply contagious, the hot sun notwithstanding. Curious, I asked how many hours they train in a day. Yves, who was probably the youngest, said he trains for six hours daily, whether it trains or shines.
For those who might not know, the 100-metre is a sprint race in track and field competitions.
Though it is the shortest common outdoor running distance, it is one of the most popular and prestigious events in athletics. Usain Bolt, the reigning 100m Olympic champion is the “fastest man” in the world with a record of 9.58 seconds registered in 2009.
So you guessed right, these athletes train for several years only for a less-than-one-minute-sprint competition. Yves later told that envisaging himself with the golden medal on a podium in front of his parents and friends is what drives him every day. The vision of that ‘glory’ in the less-than-one-minute-sprint is the fuel that kept him committed to the trainings for the last two years he has been in intensive training.
Commitment is indeed what makes the difference between excellence and mediocrity. No matter how excellent your plans, goals, ideas, dreams, vision or projects are, it is the level of commitment and the power for focussed actions you put in that will make them happen.
The Cambridge dictionary defines “Commitment” as the willingness to give your time and energy to something that you believe in, or a promise or firm decision to do something. Commitment is, therefore, not just a wish or a decision but rather the ACT to do as said and planned no matter how hard or challenging it might be.
I have always loved this funny quote that says: “Commitment is doing the thing you said you would do, long after the mood you said it in has left you”. Commitment is therefore long-term plan.
For instance, what has kept The ServiceMag throughout the past five years we have been publishing in Rwanda has been our commitment to two key elements:
1. Commitment to educate and sensitise readers on matters related to improving customer service that will generate business growth
2. Commitment to consistently offer a quality magazine, no matter the number of advertisers and sponsors we get for each issue.
Today, as The ServiceMag gets ready to grow bigger with a new management on board, it is that same commitment that will make us soar.
Obviously, making a commitment requires hard work and discipline. Before you make one, think carefully because it will obligate you to honour your promises, even those made to yourself in secrecy.
Some commitments are serious whereas others seem minor but, in any case, commitment implies that one sticks to their word. If you have promised calling back a customer, responding to a mail, resolving a complaint etc, please do so. In your job, if you have committed to be on time and strive to do your job well no matter how your colleagues do theirs, then do so every day because commitment is binding yourself intellectually and emotionally to your actions.
Commitment shows how serious - minded you are. It is a trait that you and I need to harness just like how athletes consistently train every day for years for that less-than-one-minute glory on the podium. The podium we should all aim at is the trust and reputation we will gain from people we deal with.
The author is a customer service consultant and the founder of The ServiceMag