• Michelle Carlen

Your Word is Your Currency

Updated: Aug 3, 2020

In a day in age when the demands of life have surmounted, the value we give to others is our word. Our word is hopefully true and ultimately builds trust with others over time. 

If you have ever watched the infamous series “Mad Men” which is set in New York City during the 60's, this theme comes up for the star of the series Jon Hamm, aka…Donald Drapper. Don, a Madison Avenue advertising executive, builds a personal relationship with Conrad Hilton, owner of Hilton Hotel Corporation and ends up landing this multi-million dollar account. Don shakes hands and gives Mr. Hilton his “word” and assures him a brilliant advertising campaign be delivered. When Hilton’s lawyer requests a legal contract, Don shares with his boss that he gave his word to Mr. Hilton and shook hands, what’s the need for a contract?  This begs a look at how we transact business now days, but let’s dive in a little deeper to being true to our word and implications it has on creating our own currency whether in business or personal relationships.

Let me ask a serious question, when you give someone a “yes” or a verbal commitment, do you find yourself keeping your word? It’s easy to get lost in the responsibilities of a modern world. Demands for our time abound, but honoring our word by committing to a certain action reveals who you really are. Sure, we all fall short in this arena. Let me challenge you to think about when you give your word. Your word is an exchange of currency; albeit a business, personal or familial one. Is your currency high-value or low-value? Does it fluctuate by the hour, day, month, year? Or is it consistently trustworthy and of the same value each time you give it.

I’ve been in the tourism and hospitality industry for 23 years.  The tourism space is one full of events and meetings, travel and opportunity. As an example, I’ve been invited to hundreds of events over two decades. It’s easy to cancel and change plans at the last minute if needed, or if you think you found a better event to go to, but I have found it is always better to stick to your commitments as this affects your rapport with others. You see, a stigma will ensue of being known as the person that doesn’t show up, is always late or cancels at the last hour. Individuals rely on our word to meet their own monetary and personal commitments, which means you should value your own word. Unless there is some emergency, like your child ended up in the hospital, or you really did come down with the flu, it’s always better to follow your promised plan.   

This applies to all aspects of your life. If you find yourself saying “yes” to everything, but later have to cancel or change your “yes” to a “no”, then consider these three things:

1)    In your desire to want to do it all, you may be over-committing yourself. It’s only natural to want to do things you are excited about or have great passion for. There is a point though that being overly committed means you cannot give your full attention and presence into the task at hand. Consider limiting your commitments as a means to be true to yourself.

2)    If you always feel like a better option will come along, please do not say "yes" to something. This may sound innocent, but if you are always saying yes to things and then wait to choose the best option, you let everyone else down. If you can’t make a decision because you have so many options, please don’t commit until you are absolutely sure you can.

3)    Learn to say “no” more often and this will give your “yes’s” a better chance to truly be “yes”.   This may be difficult. Saying “no” can be looked down upon. Yet, oftentimes “no” is a better answer especially if your integrity is at stake. Mostly it comes down to prioritizing and time-management.

Once you make a commitment or say “yes” let it be so. Remember, your word is your currency. What’s yours? #business #businessetiquette #professionalism #bestpractices #leadership #executive #coachingskills #timemanagement #productivity #currency #value

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