I went to sleep this morning around 2:30am. My normal bedtime is around 9pm. However, I had promised some friends there would be a cheesecake at our place when they came over today. A homemade cheesecake. A non-dairy cheesecake. A plant based cheesecake. You can’t just run out and buy one of those. Additionally, if you know anything about cheesecake (plant based or not) you can’t just throw one together as company is driving up. You have to put the ingredients together like with any cake, but you also have to account for the time it takes for it to correctly set up. 45min bake time. Turn the oven off & leave the cake in for another hour without heat. Then let cool to room temperature. Once at room temperature, then refrigerate for a minimum of 8 hours. You have to account for the time.
Dragons, I will be completely honest here, I didn’t want to make the cake. I wanted to go to sleep. It had been a long day of projects around the house which needed to be done before our friends showed up the next day. We finished these projects up & had a moment to breathe around 11pm.
I realized, I have a cheesecake to bake. A flood of excuses washed my inner consciousness with a would be cleansing power that would allow me to shirk my commitment. I could fib & say I couldn’t find the right ingredients. I could tell the truth about how busy I was, & my friends would understand, because they are awesome in this way. If I did this, then I would be taking advantage of their friendship. My actions would tell them I don’t value them as much as my words say I do. As some of my friends would say, “Your mouth is writing checks your ass can’t cash”
Why does this matter? Why does any of this matter? I mean, it’s just a cheesecake. Right? Life will go on either way. And it will. However, as it goes on, it proceeds differently. It’s not just a cheesecake. In fact, this really has nothing to do with baked goods at all. It has to do with who I am. And who you are. While big sacrifices & grand gestures are very important pieces of our lives, who we are is generally built on a foundation of small & seemingly uninteresting actions. Small bricks which build giant buildings are the promises we fulfill each days in our interactions with those among us. Stephen Covey in his amazing book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” would refer to these bricks as deposits in the emotional bank account of those around us. It’s a really important concept. When we care enough to honor our commitments – no matter how small – it builds trust. More than building trust it defines who we are as a person.
The hard choices are usually doing the thing we know is the right thing to do even when we don’t have to & when no one else can see us or the choice we make. Ultimately, it has nothing to do with other people. It has everything to do with us. Because the choice to do the thing we know we should, even if it is NEVER witnessed by another soul on earth, will build trust with the person who most needs our trust – us. We need to know we are trustworthy. When you build trust with yourself, you build confidence. Confidence is little more than an unwavering belief in yourself. However, you can’t truly believe in yourself if you know, consciously or subconsciously, you are not trustworthy.
What is the value of your word? What is the value of your promises? Do you follow through with commitments you make? Are you the king or queen of excuses? Are you able to rationalize any decision to shift the blame away from your choice? Who am I – according to my word?
The value of your word, the value of my word, is our trustworthiness to others and our confidence to ourselves. It defines us.
“It’s not hard to make decisions when you know what your values are.” —Roy Disney