by Dr. Talia Carroll

We exist in communities–our sometimes smaller biological and chosen family communities, our work or professional communities, and our social communities, for example. In each, we engage with people in numerous ways, many of them requiring us to be someone others can depend on.

Likewise, working with and sharing space with people who we can depend on is something that is a broad desire for many of us. When we reflect on those in our lives who we can count on, they are the ones we call for assistance on a task, advice to make a decision, or even just someone to hear us speak out loud and process what’s happening in our lives. Do you have someone in mind as you read? If so, by the end of this article, make a plan to reach out to them to let them know you thought of them while reading.

As we think about what it means to fulfill a commitment, we must also consider what happens when our hope to be dependable is met with a challenge or unexpected difficulty. None of us manages a perfect day, so our ability to acknowledge that our best may not meet the mark.

What is needed for dependability? If we think about it using a three-tiered perspective: commitment, character, and communication, we have a strong foundation. First, we must be committed to what it is we need to do or say. To express our commitment and understand our role in the commitment, it can support our action toward completion of the task or goal. Second, we must remember our character–the collection of traits that define how we show up in the world. If we’ve made a commitment, we must aim to maintain our strength of character. And, when we’re unable, we rely on the the third perspective…communication. While we may not always sustain high dependability, that does not diminish who we are. We can, though, be sure to maintain relationships with others when we clearly communicate our abilities and what’s possible or not.

Can you think of a time when you might have rested on commitment, character, and communication while navigating your dependability practice or expressing expectations to others about their dependability?

Spend a few moments reflecting with me:

  • When you consider the benefits of dependability for self and others, what comes to mind?
  • Who in your life is dependable, and what do you appreciate about them?
  • How do you practice dependability for those in your circle of influence?
  • Are you committing to things that you have the capacity for and not overextending yourself?
  • What accountability practices do you need to establish to support your dependability practices and those of others?

I encourage us to keep in mind that dependability is indeed important and that any of our abilities to be dependable can shift from day-to-day. Let us remember to hold compassion for yourself and those around you as you navigate life’s successes and challenges.

In what ways will you practice dependability over the next two weeks?

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