We hear the words “follow through” often. When used with an athlete it denotes what happens after a specific moment (for a baseball pitcher it describes what his body does after the ball leaves his hand). In an organization, it too denotes what happens after a specific meeting or specific commitment is made.
We rarely think of “follow through” with ourselves. This phrase implies accountability since when you are talking about “follow through” it means “you’re not there yet” or your work isn’t finished yet. This implies that you have an idea of where you want to get to — you have a goal or future state that you want to work towards.
All of this is well and good. Where I see us getting into trouble a lot is that not only do we not think of what needs to be done to “follow through” many times, but we say things and rarely “follow our words”.
What do I mean by this? People will say that I love a specific sports team yet they never watch them, never attend a game, never spend time reading about them. They didn’t follow their words.
People will say that I think it is very important for this group to do project X yet they never follow their words and commit the time to help with the work needed to “get there”. They don’t show up at the meetings to help with the work. They didn’t follow their words.
People will say I am so glad to see you — it’s been a long time and we should get together — and then they never follow their words and make time for that person soon after these words were spoken.
We say that I need to visit this person who is ill yet they never follow their words to see them.
People will say that I need to show my wife how much more I love her yet they never follow their words to try.
People will say at a wake that they wished they spent more time with this person yet they never follow their words to connect with those still living that they care about but don’t make time to see.
It’s not about our promises or our goals.
It’s about our inability to hear what we are saying.
Follow your words. It really is that simple – if only we would try.