With the school year starting up and all the new beginnings associated with it, I think this is as good a time as any to ask yourself, “What am I committed to?”

It sounds simple enough, but my experience has been that the answer to that question – and what I do about it day to day – makes a huge difference in my effectiveness as a change leader. I’ve also found that actively making a new commitment, as in, “I commit to…” is a great catalyst to jump-start something new in my life.

One of the things we do at the Skid Row School is encourage leaders to commit to bringing their aim to fruition over the next 18 to 36 months. It’s one thing to “have” an aim – it’s another thing entirely to commit to it. I notice in myself there’s an energetic shift that occurs once I commit to something, whether I scribble it into a journal, or write it in big letters on a piece of flip chart paper or say it silently to myself.

On my staycation I had some time to reflect on what I am committed to and I arrived at a new commitment that I want to share with you here. By way of background, I grew up Catholic and one of the songs that I heard in my childhood had a line that went, “The wilderness will lead you to your heart where I will speak. Integrity and justice with tenderness you shall know.” If I close my eyes I can hear my Aunt Sharon singing that verse and if my heart could speak it would say, “Yeah. That.”

To unpack that a little I will share that I very much enjoy backpacking. When I go deep in the wilderness all that seems to be left of me is my truest self. When I think of integrity I think of the practices that I learned from the Hendricks Institute – reliable tools for returning to my own sense of wholeness. When I think of justice, I think of how can I take responsibility in my day-to-day for creating a world in which everyone gets what they need. When I think of tenderness, my judgement of myself is that I fall way short. I can do the fierce Mama Bear thing, and my kids do a great job of bringing forth my tenderness, but sometimes as I navigate the world sometimes I have some sharp elbows, and I feel sad about that.

All this to say – ahem – I feel excited to share my new commitment with you: I commit to grounding my life and my work in integrity, justice, and tenderness.

Now it’s your turn – what are you committed to? Or stated another way – what are you willing to commit to now? I’d love to hear your answers.

Big love to you,


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