Honor, courage, commitment. These are the Navy and Marine Corps core values.
People often struggle with finding meaning in these words. The hang up is sometimes that people try to put them in the context of the military. However, these are core values so they should make up the core of a person, not just during military operations.
When people ask what commitment means, people often say things like it means going to work every day, showing up on time, going on deployments. While there is truth in that, it lacks meaning. And from a leadership perspective it lacks conviction and inspiration. If you use generalities like that, it may leave the impression that you don’t really know what it means to commit to something.
Share a story. Maybe one about committing to being a parent, a relationship, or flossing your teeth. All too often we try to make commitment into something grandiose, but most often it is the little things we do every day.
In 2008, I was in a bad spot. My relationship (with my now husband) was not going well. I needed to do something just for me. I’m not sure if it was a whim but I had always wanted to try running a marathon or half marathon. One day I woke up and signed up for a race. I had no idea what I was doing but I began running more and more. With no real training plan, I did what I thought would help me cross the finish line. At any moment I could have cut my losses and quit, but I made a commitment. The race was long, the race was hard, and when I finally crossed the finish line I felt pain all over. Quitting would have been easy, but I needed to finish because I made a commitment to myself.