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Alex Sheen

The power of a promise kept

An emphasis on making—and keeping—promises has never been more important.

May 2, 2016

There are those who make promises and then don’t follow through. And then there are those who make—and keep—promises.

The world needs more of the latter, says a nationally respected thought leader who uses a business card-sized piece of paper to record promises and hold people accountable.

“It’s universally true that commitment is needed everywhere in life,” says Alex Sheen, founder of Because I Said I Would. “We all understand the importance of a promise and it’s something that is needed to make the world a better place.”

Sheen will highlight the power of keeping promises during his keynote address at the America’s Credit Union Conference June 26-29 in Seattle.

Because I Said I Would is a social movement and nonprofit that strives to strengthen humanity’s will through the encouragement and support of making and keeping promises to end suffering, establish peace, and build happiness, Sheen says.

A Promise Card features the words “because I said I would” and a blank space where individuals can write down their promise—whether it’s to quit smoking, spend more time with their kids, volunteer in the community, or commit random acts of kindness—to hold themselves accountable.

“You fulfill the promise and you’re reminded that you’re a person of your word,” says Sheen, who has made—and kept—promises such as:

Volunteering at 52 nonprofit organizations in a single year;

Walking 245 miles across Ohio in 10 days to fulfill a promise to three Cleveland women who were held captive for 10 years; and

Delivering disaster relief to Hurricane Sandy victims.

Sheen started Because I Said I Would after his father died of small cell lung cancer in September 2012. While giving the eulogy at his father’s funeral, Sheen focused on stories about his father, an “average man” who was exceptional at keeping the promises he made.

That’s when Sheen introduced the idea of the Promise Card, which he initially handed out at the funeral. Because I Said I Would has mailed four million Promise Cards to people in 153 countries since its inception in 2012, according to Sheen.

That emphasis on making—and keeping—promises has never been more important, Sheen says. Today, while people find it easy to make promises, they’re not as good at keeping them.

For instance, only 8% of people follow through on their New Year’s resolutions, Sheen says.

And in today’s world, technology can make it easier for people to “hide behind an excuse or legitimate reason” for not keeping a promise, whether that pledge involved plans to meet a group of friends for dinner or spend time at a volunteer event.

“It’s almost a shock when someone follows through,” Sheen says.

But changing your mindset and following through on your promises isn’t difficult, Sheen says. It merely requires people to hold themselves accountable.

“We don’t need a miracle solution,” Sheen says. “We just need people to do what they said they’d do in the first place.”


Experience Seattle at America’s Credit Union Conference 2016

America’s Credit Union Conference isn’t just an opportunity dive into crucial issues and witness inspiring keynote speakers—it’s also an opportunity to explore our host city of Seattle. This year, we have tours planned of several Seattle landmarks, including noted wineries, lakes, the Future of Flight Aviation Center, and more.

DISCOVER Seattle and register for America’s Credit Union Conference today.