“Mary Poppins, practically perfect in every way.” And she is, too.
Disney’s movie version of the Mary Poppins story may have been a lighter take on P. L. Travers’s books, but our family loved it. We watched it, quoted it, and sang every song in it.
It’s such a family favorite, in the last few months of my dad’s life, we would watch it together, and he’d conduct the music with his index fingers and smile. It was a source of comfort to him and to us.
So what is it about Mary Poppins that makes us feel so good, so safe and secure?
In a word – commitment.
Mary Poppins is unfailingly positive, certain and committed. She comes floating in on the wind, takes on the problems of the Banks family, and doesn’t leave until the problems are solved.
You can count on Mary Poppins.
She teaches commitment to the children, and Mr. and Mrs. Banks, too.
In the parents’ case, she helps them understand what being committed to the family and the children truly means. For the children, it’s learning to be committed to doing the right thing based on the fact it’s the right thing, and not one’s feelings.
When Michael, who’s about 6 years old, asks Mary Poppins, “Will you stay if we’re very good?” She replies, “Oh! That’s a piecrust promise, easily made, easily broken.”
So what does this have to do with success in business?
Here it is. Success in business – whether you’re an entrepreneur or employee – is directly related to the commitment made and lived.
A commitment is a promise. It’s an agreement that something will absolutely happen. It doesn’t depend on feelings or excuses. It’s NOT a hope, or a want or an attempt. It’s a guarantee.
It’s 100% dependable. And it doesn’t crumble to pieces under pressure.
So if you aren’t experiencing the success you’d hoped or wanted, ask yourself, “What am I committed to doing and being?”
Chances are you’re very committed in some areas of your life. Your marriage, your relationships, your fitness, a sport, a TV show, but if you’re not experiencing the success you want in your business, dig a little deeper and see if you’re really committed to achieving that level of success.
Here’s what I’m learning (because it’s a process, right?) – in any area I haven’t yet reached my potential, I’m probably lacking commitment.
I’ve certainly made a lot of piecrust promises to myself in the past. And I accepted excuses for my lack of activity, and lack of being the best I could be. And my income and business life reflected it.
But the moment I realized how undependable I was being to myself (and if I can’t rely on myself, who can I rely on?) and really committed, my income shot through the roof, my relationships improved on every level, and I started seeing opportunities pop up everywhere.
Why? I think it has something to do with the Mary Poppins syndrome. I was being Mary Poppins-ish – dependable, positive, certain of the future. Because when I’m committed, I know I’ll stay until the problem has been solved, the next level is reached, the goal is accomplished.
Truthfully, I like myself so much better when I’m committed to being my best. I enjoy being who I am and sharing my gifts with others. And that brings us to the bonus free gift which comes along with commitment.
Joy. A spoonful of sugar. Corny? Yes. True? YES. Can’t we all use a little more joy?
So try it. Set yourself a goal – something attainable. Maybe it’s making one follow-up phone call, writing an email or thank you note, reaching out to a prospect, walking for 15 minutes – but choose something you need to do on a regular basis, and for the next three days, do it.
If you’re going to be successful, you can start acting like a successful person right now. Literally be the person you’re committed to becoming – right now.
And after three days, I guarantee you’ll start to get kind of addicted to this commitment thing. There’s nothing more motivating than being able to count on yourself.
So no more piecrust promises for you! No excuses! No yearning and wanting and desiring! Just quietly and calmly set your goal and COMMIT to it.
Because in the face of all that positive force, all that certainty, all that consistent commitment, all that doing and being, things have a way of working out.
And that’s the secret.
Thank you, Mary Poppins.