Buy a ticket…the power of commitment

Phil Hesketh is one of the Property Academy’s most popular speakers who combines wisdom and insight with great humour, stories and anecdotes. At one of his talks a member of the audience asked him “how do you get to live and work in Australia every winter?” and he replied, “I buy a ticket to get there.” And whilst this might seem a flippant reply there is in fact a powerful lesson to be learned here – the pull of commitment.


August isn’t the busiest month for a high performance business coach in the UK and whilst there are always opportunities they are harder to come by. So normally I take a long holiday and catch up on my reading and writing, but this year I decided to take Phil’s advice and on July 30th I’m on a flight to Melbourne.

I must confess that when I purchased the ticket I had already secured two speaking engagements, one in Melbourne and the other in Sydney, but since buying the ticket and making the commitment to be down under for a month, I’ve now got 14 engagements ranging from workshops with a dozen CEO’s to a keynote with 1,500 people – oh, and I’ve got two events in Bali too. Now I’m aware I might be sounding a tad smug but I’m choosing to illustrate my point with a real life example that’s happened to me in the last month in order to emphasise that the pull of commitment is very real.

All too often I see people with ambition fail to achieve their potential because they allow themselves to be swayed away from their goal. I hear them say things like “It’s just too hard”, “I don’t have enough time”, “It’s not the right time” and many more. And yet I also see many more people who have made a commitment, who have skin in the game so to speak, face up to these same issues and break through the barriers because the pull of their desired result has been amplified by the commitment they have made.

The key is, when setting your desired result, to make what Professor Robert Cialdini calls “an active, public and voluntary commitment” by which he means to publicly state your goal and to do so positively and not because you have been or feel coerced. This explains why people who take on a sporting or physical challenge in support of a charity will, more often than not, complete their goal not because of the support they’ve received, although this helps a lot too, but primarily because they’ve gone public with it and now have a greater investment and subsequent commitment.

I think this equally applies to business goals and it’s why I encourage our clients to make them public and to repeat them frequently. There’s something about stating “we will achieve X by Y date” that propels a business much more than if the goal was kept private and known only by the board of directors. I also feel that when an appropriate investment is made this changes the dynamic from it being a “nice idea” to a “must have” – so go on, buy a ticket.

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