Kept promises

Painting of people on bikes

Sixteen years ago I made a promise to my best friend. I told her we would celebrate my 40th birthday in New York.

This week, I celebrate my 40th birthday and I’m writing this from a little Airbnb in Nolita. I have my husband and son with me and I’m back in New York after six long years away. It so happens that my 40th blog is due in the same week that I turn 40 so I thought I’d share something a little more personal.

The concept of my blog is about reimagining, creating and living realities we desire. It is about disrupting our relationship with reality from one that is fixed and true to one that is dynamic and negotiable. I have been reflecting this past week about the important role making and keeping long term promises plays in being able to create the experiences you desire in your life.

We are all born into different circumstances that set up the conditions of our realities. The stories we all love to hear about describe the journey of few special humans who have been born into difficult, and sometimes hopeless circumstances, and thrive despite their ‘inherited reality’.

It is convenient for us to assume that they are the lucky ones, though if you were to have a glass of wine with me and open up the topic of luck, you’ll find that I believe that luck is something you create for yourself. That it is not an external thing, it is an internal thing. Those people who have the ability to keep believing in an alternative, that is safer, healthier, more prosperous, are those who create the circumstances for them to achieve it.

It is hard work being lucky. It takes all of your faculties to be self reflective, open to change, iterate yourself and always learn, learn, learn, the lessons you are here to learn. And sometimes, the universe can seem to kick your arse from here to the beginning of time until you do. If you’re willing to make promises about a positive future, despite your current reality, and do whatever it takes to get there, that’s luck.

Though I digress. I made a promise to my bestie and my bestie held me to it. Towards the end of last year, I received a call from her and she told me that she’d booked her tickets and was going to be in New York for my birthday, so I had better be there.

When you make promises, compelling promises about a desired future, and include people within it, and inspire them to be a part of it, they then hold you to it. They will have your back when you stray from it, and they will also make decisions and choices within their own lives to help ensure it happens. I am sharing a personal story, though this relates of course to any reality.

Large organisations don’t see their strategies as promises. Although the language of ‘promise’ is used a lot in business, the employee promise, the customer promise, but these promises, in my experience so far, have been conditional. You cannot have conditional promises when you’re in the business of creating shared realities for others. You’ve got to say what you mean, and mean what you say, and be prepared to do whatever it takes to deliver on that promise.

The irony is, when it’s the right promise, it really isn’t hard to keep it. It might be hard work to manifest it, but it isn’t hard work to keep it. Keeping your promises also works out your will. Your ability to deliver relies heavily on your will power. Just like any human trait, your will also needs to be worked out. The best way to work out your will, is do what you say you’re going to do, when you say you’re going to do it. The more reps, the more toned your will power will get.

We cannot create anything in this world without a promise and our will. I have learnt that well and truly this week. It took 16 years of toiling, to manifest the conditions where I could celebrate my birthday in New York surrounded by those dear to me, who have travelled from Australia and New Zealand to be here with me.

This example is particularly self indulgent, I realise, though the same mechanism is true for my life’s work. I am here to rethink the supersystems that create our current reality as citizens of this planet.

And I’m making another promise.

That I’ll be celebrating my 60th birthday in a world that has disrupted its own value system.