Wei Min “Al” Sheen was a simple man who never sought fame or recognition. His source of immense pride came from keeping every promise he ever made, a character trait that he passed onto his son Alex.
After his father’s sudden passing, Alex wanted to recognize him in a way that honored this legacy of keeping promises. To do this, at the funeral Alex handed out blank white business cards and asked all in attendance to write a promise on them. During eulogy (which he titled: Because I said I Would) Alex asked everyone in attendance to honor his father’s memory by honoring their written promises.
Everyone agreed this was a fitting tribute to a man they loved and respected so much, which in turn got Alex thinking: What if he could harness his father’s spirit of keeping promises beyond this day by offering promise cards on a larger scale?
He got to work immediately building a website that offered ten cards printed with Because I Said I Would to be mailed for free to anywhere in the world. And with this, the social movement Because I Said I Would was born, and was to be guided by the following mission statement:
“Because I said I would is a social movement and nonprofit dedicated to the betterment of humanity. Our mission is to strengthen humanity’s will. Because I said I would encourages and supports making and keeping promises to end suffering, establish peace and build happiness.”
In seven years Alex and his team have mailed over ten million promise cards to over one hundred and fifty countries! Equally remarkable are the stories that have come back by people wanting to express gratitude for the opportunity to make their promises public declarations. Three that moved me are:
· After fighting a heroin addiction, a young mother promised her unborn babies to always protect, love and take care of them.
· A father diagnosed with cancer promised to pre-write notes for his daughter to get at school every single day until she eventually graduates, including the many days may not be there for.
· A man who killed someone while drinking and driving recorded a video confession promising to take responsibility for his actions. He understood that upon the video’s release he’d be found guilty and charged for his crime. (He was)
Writing promises and commitments and making them public declarations is a way to hold ourselves accountable to the things we say we will do. It keeps us honest, and pushes us during those times we want to quit, give up or just not bother following through.
Alex and his legion of supporters and BISIW participants prove that writing promises down and posting them publically keeps them accountable; and it doesn’t take too long perusing the website to see the impact it’s made on so many lives.
I can’t add anything to Alex’s message other than to say to make your most important promises and commitments public, and out loud. I do this myself by telling friends what goals I’m planning, plus by putting them on my goals board for anyone to see. Making my goals and promises and commitments makes me accountable, transparent and provides me with the motivation to see them through.
And while I never want to let anyone else down, selfishly I first never want to let myself down. To me, integrity and commitment are cornerstones of a strong, reputable character so I can’t imagine a worse character flaw than not showing them. The best way to do this is by always keeping our promises, because we said we would. Making our promises as public declarations helps us do this.
If for any reason you don’t believe me this works, just ask Alex Sheen. Trust me, he’ll convince you.
Because I Said I Would website can be found HERE.
Author Bio: David Knapp-Fisher
As founder of The Inspired Humans Project, David loves sharing inspirational stories. His TEDx talk, “Discipline or Regret, a Father’s Decision” been viewed over 100,000 times, and his first book, “Punch Failure in The Face, The Buy It a Beer” has 36 five star reviews on amazon.ca. and this post is from it.
David lives in Victoria B.C. where he spends most of his time trying (& usually failing) to stump his son with movie trivia, or planning his next big adventure; both while drinking great coffee, of course.