Tomorrow is 10-4 Day. 10-4 is a military expression conveying agreement and acknowledgement. 10-4! But how many times do people agree to something without thinking it through or intending to follow through? You are counting on them and their word should mean something. It seems like your word meant more in years gone by than it does today. People say things and often don't really mean them. They make commitments and don't intend to keep them. Politicians are often accused of this, but I see it happen more among every day citizens, don't you? One of my communication pet peeves is when people tell me they are going to do something and then don't do it. I'm not talking about the ones who have a tragedy in their lives and can't come over for dinner. I'm talking about the ones who seem to make a commitment to you and then flake. When asked why they didn't follow through, they say, "Oh, I forgot." I once hosted a weekly internet radio show. I'd schedule guests several weeks in advance, contact them a few days prior to the event to confirm and then send a reminder the night before the show. You won't believe how many times someone flaked. How many times have you called your cable company or gas company to get information about a new promotion and found the details weren't what was represented to you? Have you ever loaned money to a friend and had the date of repayment pass by? I remember having to fight with my insurance company to cover a service that was clearly stated in the policy only to be told it was no longer covered or never was. Even when you have a contract, it sometimes leads to litigation in order to enforce it because the company or other party goes back on their word. Since a person's word is no longer something left to a verbal agreement, there are written contracts for more and more services these days. I remember getting an "estimate" from my dentist a few years ago. But it isn't these major life issues like a contract you sign when buying a house or a car that frustrates us; it's the broken promiss made by a friend. I have a terrible memory, especially the older I get. I have lists to remind me to do all kinds of things. Outlook reminds me to call my brother in law for his birthday, to renew the domain name and to write up all my blog posts for the week. My little purple notebook holds my daily "to do" list where I feel satisfaction by crossing off things like: wash clothes, write my newsletter and make dinner. If I make a commitment to do something for someone, it goes on my lists because I don't want to let anyone down, even if I don't mean to. One thing I have started is not saying 10-4 to everything asked of me. I weigh the task carefully against my "to do" lists. If there is something I can do to help someone, I'll write it in. If I know they can't count on me for that, I don't commit to it because I know how difficult a position that puts them in if I can't come through. What about you? Have you said 10-4 to too many things? Has someone let you down by not following through on a commitment? How do you handle making sure you follow through with your commitments? ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~ If you liked this post, read…Seven Reasons Why YOU Should Sign Up for the Art of Eloquence Newsletter!