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Making And Keeping Commitments

Let your “Yes” be “Yes” and your “No” be “No.”

Do you make commitments you wish you hadn’t made? Maybe it is a commitment to a client or to a friend.  They may be easy to make in the moment, but they are hard to fulfill when the time comes. Maybe you didn’t realize the time it would take to follow through or the things you would have to give up in order to fulfill the commitment.  What happens next? You back out of it.  You find an excuse.

In Texas, we call this “Crawfishing.” Crawfish swim backwards.  They are incredibly fast, especially when they feel threatened. Suddenly, they are hiding under a rock where you can’t get to them.

Two of my bad habits include making commitments and then “crawfishing” away from them.  My need to say “Yes” to other people is often a result of my pride and insecurity.  I like knowing people value my contributions and want me to be involved.  I also have a need for validation from other people.

The irony is, I say “Yes” because I don’t want to let people down.  But, because I say “Yes” too often, I end up crawfishing on some people and/or not doing my best for others.  Therefore, I let them down!

What is the worth of our word?  When we make commitments, do we believe our word is as valuable as gold?  If we do, we will never break a commitment to another person.  Our willingness to let others down, through our broken commitments, is an indication of how important Integrity is to us.

This realization hurts. I know.  Looking back, I realize I had been in the habit of letting down a lot of people—including my wife and children. When they couldn’t count on my word being gold, I came to the conclusion I needed to make new choices.

Now, I am very careful to say “Yes” to a new commitment. This ensures I am not overbooked and overwhelmed.  As the old proverb says, “Let your “Yes” be “Yes” and your “No” be “No.”  This is how I strive to live now.

Our word is valuable!  It is so valuable; we must be careful to not give it away or cheapen it by “crawfishing” from our commitments. When we are this careful about making commitments, some people may be disappointed when we say “No.”  But they are less disappointed than they would be when we let them down.

In the end, those we lead know we are there for them—and our Integrity grows stronger. 


  • Have you ever seen someone “crawfishing?” 

  • In what areas of life is it most tempting for you to “crawfish?” What safeguards can you put into action in order to exercise Integrity? 


It is important to us for you to have an opportunity to exercise Integrity, not only individually, but together as a team. This is why we have created practice cards with scenarios. We invite you to discuss as a team what it means to exercise Integrity via our Coaching Cards

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