What promise do you need to keep?

Shawn Fink
5 min readMar 10, 2023


When I was a child, my grandmother, who we lived with for a few years and whose house I spent nearly every weekend and summer day at, used to make me swear — a lot.

Not that kind of swearing.

If I made a promise, she’d ask: Do you swear on it? I promise I will eat my vegetables.

If you swore on it, you meant it. She made me raise my pinky and say, “I swear.”

And if you broke that swear, it was really serious business — like you’d go to H- or something, I can’t remember. I just know it was really bad.

(Or, so I thought because I took swears VERY seriously. Looking back, I now realize this was just a really impressive parenting tactic and oddly it worked very, very well and I’m kind of wondering why this didn’t surface for me until this essay.)

First, let me be clear: My grandmother is my everything and she is a TOTAL comedian. Her “making you swear on it’” was always a joke but I always wanted to keep my promises to her — and still do.

Anyway, as I resurface this memory about my childhood “swears,” I’m not surprised that I have always been passionate about promises and use this as a “purpose practice” in my own life as an entrepreneur and CEO — and with clients.

In my private coaching program, the first essential Brave Yes emPOWERment Tool we work with to help you find your Brave Yes so you can take yourself and your business to the next level is finding, declaring and believing in your PURPOSE.

But we can’t make as much progress in any of that until you are feeling good in mind, body and spirit.

  • You design a blueprint for where YOU want to take YOUR business or organization as the CEO and boss.
  • You set clear Brave Yes Intentions for you and your work.
  • And, you get super clear on your purpose at this very moment — including your personal desires and your justice and equity mission so you feel truly aligned when growing and building your changemaking vision.

All of this and more is about making sure you working daily to make a bigger impact in your LIFE and business. (Learn about my private, one-to-one coaching program here.)

Consider your personal needs and desires right now for your self, your health or your wealth (the basic needs you need to thrive).

  1. What is that one thing you need to do in order to thrive and flourish in those areas so you can be the leader you need to be for your business?
  2. How can you make sure you are 100 percent nourished and cared for in those areas right now?

And with that, what promise do you need to keep for yourself right now in one of those areas — or all three?

The truth is that when you are working with purpose toward big + exciting goals, dreams or ideas, the intense mental focus and heavy lifting you are doing can take away from your personal needs and desires.

This promise is not a business strategy, per say.

It is a life strategy that will inform your business strategy and goals.

When you lose sight of your purpose, you can easily lose your way.

The thing about a promise is … it’s personal and it’s 100 percent in your control.

And when we lose OUR way, we diminish our ability to thrive and make an impact.

I can’t tell you how many times in the past I lost my way, ended up down some rabbit hole I had no business being in and lost sight of what I should have been putting more time, energy and resources into for my own personal purpose and flourishing. All because I hadn’t set a clear promise to myself.

Photo Credit: Chrissy Metz, giphy.com

And so now you need a swear ritual …

It’s time to make your promise legit.

Normally, in client sessions, our conversation would be where you get crystal clear on your ideal promise and then you would put a swear on it by telling me your plans and then we’ll check in on how you’re keeping your promise about two weeks later. (Learn about my private, one-to-one coaching program here.)

For now, the promise you’ve made to yourself — and it can be super simple — is just an idea, a thought.

It needs some power behind it.

Since I’m a hopeless romantic, I want to invite you take just one more step with your promise …

Let’s begin by going back in time to the delightfulness of “Anne of Green Gables” and how she encouraged a ritual with her new best friend Diana from next door, a ritual to solidify their friendship forever.

“Will you swear to be my friend forever and ever?” demanded Anne eagerly.

Diana looked shocked.

“Why it’s dreadfully wicked to swear,” she said rebukingly.

“Oh no, not my kind of swearing. There are two kinds, you know.”

“I never heard of but one kind,” said Diana doubtfully.

“There really is another. Oh, it isn’t wicked at all. It just means vowing and promising solemnly.”

“Well, I don’t mind doing that,” agreed Diana, relieved. “How do you do it?”

“We must join hands-so,” said Anne gravely. “It ought to be over running water. We’ll just imagine this path is running water. I’ll repeat the oath first. I solemnly swear to be faithful to my bosom friend, Diana Barry, as long as the sun and moon shall endure. Now you say it and put my name in.”

Diana repeated the “oath” with a laugh fore and aft. (The book itself is rooted in old language that would not be acceptable today.)

And then raise your pinky and repeat, I solemnly swear to ___________. Repeat your promise here as many times as you need to hear it, until it sticks in your body.

So, your next step is to create a ritual to put a swear on your promise. The more official the better, because Anne says so.

  • You can imagine swearing to yourself over a body of running water, if you want to be super legit about it.
  • You could also head out to an actual body of water and stand with your hand over your heart and recite your promise to the universe.
  • You could also simply light a candle or write your promise on a sticky note. : ) (Sticky note oaths for the win!)

It works … If you don’t let yourself off the hook.

It’s silly.

It’s powerful.

Now, how can I support you in mind, body, spirit — and strategy — with your promise?

-> READY TO GET CLEAR AND STEP INTO YOUR PURPOSE? Let’s work together! I have 2 spaces for private, one-to-one coaching opening up. LEARN MORE HERE.

Originally published at https://shawnfink.com on March 10, 2023.



Shawn Fink

I help wholehearted entrepreneurs be #BusinessBrave and start taking up more space and running your biz on your terms.