Because I said I would.

Because I said I would.

Lately I’ve been thinking about the importance of doing what you say you’re going to do. It pretty much drives everything I’m involved with.

Smug Kate. Upset Erika. The usual.

Smug Kate. Upset Erika. The usual.

When we were kids, my sister and I fought. A lot. One of the ways she’d really get me upset was to quit in the middle of something. We’d be playing Barbies or putting on a song-and-dance concert for my parents (ah, the early days of karaoke) and I’d get all elaborate about the set-up of what family of dolls lives where or our costumes and makeup that took hours to put together and right before it was time to start, she’d snap, “I don’t really want to do this any more anyway,” and walk away. It wasn’t that she was a quitter kind of person, but the bossy big-sister way I’d oversee our projects got on her nerves and she knew how much flaking out drove me nuts.

My dad has volunteered as treasurer for our family church for as long as I can remember. It’s not like it’s his favorite thing to do. But it’s something he said he would do, and that’s just how it is. As a kid, I’d tried to talk him into ditching out on his property inspections to hang out with me — “Come on, you can do it tomorrow! Next week! Pleeeeease?” — but he said he’d do it, and do it he did. (Speaking of my Dad: Here’s the most recent website I’ve designed! It was a birthday present for him.)

Porch, cribbage, Cory, beer. A winning combination.

Porch, cribbage, Cory, beer. A winning combination.

So here I find myself overbooking my days. Volunteering to organize something or do pro bono work and saying yes to everyone who asks me to do an art show or demo or go to a meeting and cramming more Advokate meetings or volunteer work into a day than originally planned. It seems like it’s constantly that I’d rather be catching up on my to-do list, doing a little housework (ha!), enjoying a little time with family and friends or playing cribbage on my porch with my husband and sipping a beer, but instead I’m doing something else. Why?

Because I said I would.

Nothing irks me more than flaking out. I completely understand that things come up, and our lives change, and sometimes there are delays or emergencies or a sudden shift in priorities. Of course I have had moments myself where I just couldn’t make it work no matter how hard I tried. But I know how easy it is to lose faith in someone, particularly if it’s a regular “Yes. Oh, actually, no.” If it ever happens that an emergency or that week when everything goes wrong or my depending on someone else who flaked makes it that I can’t get something done, I do try to make it right. I know that reliability is really important and it’s important to me that I am someone who can be relied on.

O'Brien Insurance's great logo by Trampoline Design

O’Brien Insurance’s great logo by Trampoline Design

I’ve just been thinking lately about how anyone can sue anyone in today’s world, and after a long talk today with John O’Brien at O’Brien Insurance, I’m feeling a little better about it all. He basically said to me that sure, it’s true that anyone can sue anyone, and you can’t control that, really. You have to just do your best and be good at what you do and be honest and most importantly, do what you said you’d do… and hope you don’t take on jerks for customers. (I’m paraphrasing. I don’t think he actually said jerks.) As to jerky customers: So far, so good! All Advokate’s clients are fantastic, awesome people. Furthest people from jerks I know!

So I guess my solution is not that I need to flake out on things I said I’d do because it’s an asset to Advokate that I’m the type of person who doesn’t flake out. But perhaps I do need to guard my time a little better. It’s just such a hard thing for me to say, “Nah, that would cut into my TV time,” or “Well, I was going to have pina coladas by the pool instead,” when asked to help out with something that I believe in and want to support. But I guess we all need to relax sometimes.

Anyway, I have to go. I have to get these three website updates done today. And email this proposal. And follow up with more info on an insurance quote. And send this press release. And feed my friend’s cat while he’s out of town. And return these phone calls. And mail out these craft show applications. And update this web calendar for a client. And somehow, darn the fact that it’s after 4:30 already, I’m going to!

Because I said I would.

Kate Austin-Avon
kate@advokate.net

Kate Austin-Avon is the owner and founder of Advokate, LLC. She lives in Glens Falls, New York, with her husband Cory (Vice President of Advokate!) and their three children.