Commitments. Commitments. Commitments. They fill our days, our heads
and our lives. Most of us are in the commitment business. Of course,
that\’s not what we call it. At work, we\’re making commitments to
customers, suppliers, bosses, coworkers and staff. At home, we\’re
making commitments to family, friends, neighbors, community and
organizations. Not to mention commitments to pay taxes, credit card
bills, mortgages and car loans.

Commitments become our drivers. Like the proverbial hamster wheel, we
can\’t stop the stress, or the time demands we obligate ourselves to,
because of commitments. We work so we can meet our professional,
personal and financial ones. We work so we can do the others things in
our lives we want to do. We work to get the good review, the promotion,
the raise or the new job so we can get the house or the car or the next
big thing.

As tapestries of commitments seemingly blanket us, we may feel we
“have” to do something, when in fact we have a choice, even if it\’s one
with consequences. We may think we can\’t let someone else down, when in
fact we can say no. We may even believe we work for other people, when
in fact we work for ourselves.

When we “get” that we work for ourselves, we become the drivers, not
the passengers, of our commitments. Only then does our commitment
orientation change. We discover it\’s easier to say no and more
gratifying to have choices. You see, with all the commitments we make,
most of us miss the most important one there is … the one we make to

However, people who are winning at working make that commitment. Not in
a selfish egocentric way, but as the author of their own life. They
commit to use their unique gifts and offer the best of who they are to
the world. They commit to their dreams. And they commit to becoming who
they are capable of becoming. Often their work is a path to do that.

After twenty years in management, I found clear differences in people
who made the commitment to self-actualization and people who didn\’t.
Self-committed people are building their skills, working on personal
growth, acting like owners and offering their talents without being
asked. While others watch from the sidelines, these people are solving
problems, resolving conflicts and assisting others. They give. They
take action. They make things happen. They\’re energized, enthusiastic
and passionate about work.

You see, when you understand you\’re working for yourself, that\’s what
happens. Making a self-commitment to become your best you, doesn\’t
reduce your commitments or your work, but it does alter them. When you
commit to bringing yourself to your work, in the deepest sense of that
concept, something happens. That something fuels your passion and
ignites your spirit. If you want to be winning at working, make the
most important commitment you can make. That commitment is all about

Nan Russell Columnist, Writer, Instructor

Nan Russell has spent over twenty years in management, most recently with QVC as a Vice President. She has held leadership positions in Human Resource Development, Communication, Marketing and line Management. Nan has a B.A. from Stanford University and M.A. from the University of Michigan. Currently working on her first book, Winning at Working: 10 Lessons Shared, Nan is a writer, columnist, and speaker. Her career insights column, Winning at Working ( ) regularly appears on over eighty websites; and her life-reflections column, In the Scheme of Things ( is published in six states and Canada. Her work has been selected to appear in several anthologies. To sign up for Nan's free eColumn(s), or read more about Nan or her work, visit: