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UMBC Wellness in the Workplace

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June 2011: Language Series Practice #6 – “Make and manage your promises”

Perhaps the linguistic tool that has the most potential to affect our identity is our ability to make and manage our promises. Promises always happen in relation to others and they are the way that we collectively take action and design the future. We count on each other to be sincere, competent, reliable and involved in performing specific actions. Because of the interrelatedness of promises to relationships, it is critical that we keep our word. If we find, after making a promise, that we are not able to complete the task, we need to speak up and renegotiate our promise. We may need to request an extension, we may need further clarification, or we may need to decline the request. Having this conversation early helps preserve the relationship and allows the person making the request to make other arrangements.

See the attached worksheet with more information about promises and a self-coaching exercise. In the next month, begin observing yourself and the promises that you make, keep, and renegotiate. Notice how you handle each of these situations and where there might be room for improvement. How does your ability to make, keep, and manage your promises impact your relationship?


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