Do the best that you can do. Never tell a lie. If you say you’re going to do it, get it done. Nobody gives a shit about an excuse. Leave for the meeting early. Don’t be late, but if you are late, don’t bother giving people excuses. Just apologize…Return your calls quickly. The other thing is the five- second no. You’ve got to make your mind up. You don’t leave people hanging.
The quote above is from Hal Borthwick recounting lessons from his stepfather, Charlie Munger, billionaire business partner of Warren Buffett, as published in Janet Lowe’s biography, Damn Right!
Why Be Reliable
The main quality I am working on this year is to be reliable. As a business entrepreneur, it’s easy to forget to fulfill commitments I make with the excuse “I’m too busy.” It’s easy to prioritize putting out a new fire over fulfilling a promise to someone. I have many responsibilities in terms of people working for me and financial resources I’m accountable for, but this is not the right way to live.
If the unexpected expectedly occurs, it’s not an excuse to make promises I can’t keep.
To be reliable is to be trustworthy – you do what you say you will do. This trait creates greater success. If we are known to fulfill our commitments, people trust us with greater responsibility in life and business. Greater responsibility creates greater financial opportunity.
This year I’m using the quote above as an easy checklist to reflect on specific ways to be more reliable. Here’s that list:
- Do the best you can do.
- If you say you’re going to do something, do it.
- Never tell a lie.
- Leave for the meeting early. Don’t be late. If you’re late, don’t make an excuse, just apologize.
- Return calls quickly.
- Use the five-second no: Make up your mind. Don’t leave people hanging.
Two to three times per week, I reflect on whether or not I have been reliable in the previous few days. I use the checklist above and write down instances in which I have done well or poorly. Then, I aim to do better.
Less stress. My wife is one of the most reliable people I know. If she agrees to do something, she does it. She can’t operate any other way. The slightest mistake in not fulfilling a commitment she’s made upsets her. And you know what? She doesn’t have a lot of stress.
I’ve noticed the same effect trying to be more reliable. If someone calls me and I don’t want to talk to them, I call them back anyway. I get it over with. Ignoring them isn’t usually a good option long-term.
I also aim to give people an answer fast per the five second no rule. Recently a few friends invited me skiing. I wanted to go, but also didn’t want to leave my wife alone all day while I went skiing without her. I have a tendency to want to keep my options open rather than force myself to make a decision. Instead, I told them I couldn’t make it. Option closed.
By returning calls (and texts) quickly, making up our minds, and doing what we say we will do, we free ourselves from the weight of unfulfilled obligations.