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Commitment: It’s Not Just for Breakfast Anymore. - October 2023


A Tale of Murky Stuff: Money, Trust and Commitment.


The three mysterious ingredients necessary to get anything meaningful done are money, commitment, and trust.

All three are hard to gauge, mostly in others, but even in ourselves, which is a huge part of the problem. The level of “enough” or “not enough” often aren’t apparent or known until significant time and headspace have been devoted to a project, and really, often until the very end, at closing or at the point of signing a lease agreement.

Money is hard. It is built to be quantified, but people are cagey about their money and hold their position as private and to be kept in the blind. It is not easily pried into. The subject of money is tied directly to trust, and trust takes time, familiarity, and liking the other person to some degree.

Trust is interesting. Like commitment, it is more of a feeling or a sense. It isn’t a matter really of “Do I trust this person or not?” more so than “How much do I trust this person?” It’s a continuum. Are they flaky? How flaky? Do I trust them to pay me $5 back if I lend it to them? How about $50,000? Do I trust them to stay with me at my house as a base camp? Do I trust them to stay at my house while I am out of town? How strong is their word? Trust is also something that is in a constant state of evaluation and movement. A person isn’t static, nor is the person evaluating them. We are all constantly moving slightly up or down the trust depth chart, and that means both people in a relationship, and both as subjects of evaluation, and as evaluators. It’s amazing we make it through any given day!

Commitment. This concept, and thinking about it, is what got me writing this whole article. I think it is the cornerstone of the trifecta. People usually have the money or the access to it, or not. And trust can be built, in my role, often on the fly via the narrative of a project. But commitment, well, it’s tricky. The weird thing is, the “committed” buyer or seller often may believe they are committed, but they really aren’t and/or their commitment is also a work in progress. People always say, “Yes, I am committed, let’s do this.” And they may be committed to using a broker or establishing the relationship. But their level of commitment to sell, and sell at a price the market will bear under terms they weren’t expecting, will have to become apparent.

One thing I have learned is that actions and decisions speak louder than words, and, even in myself, I may think I am committed, but I am not really committed, because 1.) you don’t know what it's really going to take until you’ve actually gone through whatever the endeavor is, and 2.) one’s obligation to stand by a commitment will be tested, and a person has to consistently decide and re-decide whether they want to follow-through on their commitment as they go through the narrative.

Often, the cheesy commitment we make in the beginning is only words or a concept, and ultimately not strong, but, because we declared the commitment to ourselves and the world, the unreal commitment leads to actual commitment, and hard endeavors requiring real commitment do get done. Funny how it all works.

-Hugh

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