Those of us who serve in the Navy are very familiar with our three core values, HONOR, COURAGE and COMMITMENT. We personally witness, read stories about, and celebrate a long history filled with examples of heroic actions exemplifying a tradition founded on those three values. Those values are re-enforced at just about every opportunity and we are better because of it. I see examples of honor and courage just about every day I serve. What I have seen less and less of recently is overt examples of COMMITMENT and it starts with the language we choose to use.
In a previous post, I shared my opinions on indecisive language. Since then, I have made it a point to be even more aware of the language I use and that of individuals around me. At work, I have grown tired of hearing how we "could meet" this deadline, we "should meet" that deadline, and "there is no reason why we can't address" a certain issue. People who use such verbiage imply they are not COMMITTED to following through, are not operating with any meaningful sense of purpose, and are satisfied with a lackluster effort level.
It is my personal belief that our actions start with our words and a road that is paved with wishy, washy language, creates a team that has little sense of urgency and opens the door for excuses to explain their inaction. In favor of previous examples, I offer we "WILL make" this deadline, we "are COMMITTED to making" that deadline, and we "have ALREADY BEGUN solving" a certain issue. In an attempt to justify a lack of COMMITMENT to action, I have been told that we can't COMMIT because we don't have control over a given process. To that I say poppycock! We may only control a portion of a given process, but the larger WE controls the entire action. Furthermore, leadership is less about control and all about influence. Truth is we control very little, but WE can influence just about anything we choose to (and everything is a choice). Personally, I wish we would spend more time influencing the things that matter most, vice attempting to control the things we fool ourselves into believing we can.
I ask that those of us truly COMMITTED to Navy Core Values spend a little more time demonstrating our COMMITMENT to "The Third Core Value" through our words and our actions. There is no honor, nor courage, if we aren't truly COMMITTED.
I am not THE Bruce Dickinson, but just as the only prescription for his fever was "More Cowbell", I know I am not alone in my acknowledgement that we could cure many of our ills with "More COMMITMENT." In fact, it is said, and I believe it, that our thoughts and words ultimately shape our destiny. Then again, our destiny will arrive regardless of our COMMITMENT level...just not one that delivers any sense of fulfillment.
Watch your thoughts, they become words.
Watch your words, they become actions.
Watch your actions, they become habits.
Watch your habits, they become your character.
Watch your character, it becomes your destiny.