Shasta County, California. Remote Freelance Writer

How to Define Commitment


Snow piled on the wood from the sugar maple tree.

The storm rolled in masking its intensity by a few unimpressive drops of rain at 3 P.M.


12 hours later we awoke with snow plow trucks penetrating the silence. Back and forth they drove.


By morning light we were greeted with 6 inches of snow and no power.


Only 22 hours ago we had 3 men arriving in our yard to remove the aged sugar maple tree.


The summer had uncovered the health of the tree. Unveiling 2 huge branches barren of leaves, over-hanging the buildings. Ugly mushrooms had formed on the ground around the trunk.


In December we had a tree removal company estimator give us a bid. With confidence in what he proposed and addressing our concerns, we told him to do it. But there was a 2 month wait. For every storm and wind afterwards, we crossed our fingers. Anxious for the day to arrive that this nightmare would be behind us.


When we woke up that February morning with snow on the ground and the tree was no longer a threat, we were thankful. The snow storm had damaged trees and bushes, big, small, young, and old. For miles around, it was like a war zone.


But back to the subject of this post.


I watched as they dismantled our tree limb by limb. The man in the cherry-picker worked with precision of where to drop the branches and the 2 on the ground ran them through the chipper. Produced 2 truck loads of ground cover for our anticipated summer projects. They moved the big parts of the tree to a designated area for our friend to retrieve for his fireplace, when he has the time.


The machines were silent at different times throughout the 7.5 hours they were here. Each time I looked out assuming they were taking a break.They had a large container of water, but never seen them eat.


At 3 PM one of them knocked on the door. He wanted us to sign a paper. I invited him inside the house. He announced that it was “starting to sprinkle.” My response was “At least the rain held out until the tree was down.”


“I have to run for an hour when I leave here,” he replied.


“What, you don’t get enough exercise doing this job?”


He responded, “If I am not sore and tired by the end of the day, I have not worked hard enough.”




He went on to say “we are fire fighters and we have to run up a hill with 60 lbs on our backs.”


Thought of this and realized they worked hard with no breaks other than water.





You can’t tell a fire, “Hey, hold that thought… I need my lunch break!”


They work a physical job that builds their upper body, and they get paid to workout.


What they can’t get on the job they supplement it with running.




It is a 365 day a year commitment to be a forest fighter. They need to be in great physical shape ready to endure the long hours with no food, or breaks.


I remember last summer when we had forest fires here, and they did televised briefings. The word to the commanders of designated areas was “tell your men to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.”


I have a new appreciation for those that fight the fires.


When we were without power, the men worked long hours trying to restore for the 60,000 people with no electricity. They had a job to do and I am sure they didn’t get to take their breaks as soon as they hoped. But I can’t imagine any of them not taking a break, as they get paid by the hour and it includes their breaks. Plus they get overtime for the extra hours and working the weekend. Dedicated, because it requires them; but committed as the forest fighters, I don’t think so.


The fire fighter’s commitment is to be in shape all the time. If they slack off this commitment, it may mean they don’t get to come home again. Fire has a way of destroying whatever is in its path and if they are not prepared they lose.


How do you define committed?


Do we know what commitment means? Is it that you show up for work each day and put in your time? Do you take work home?


The meaning is only translated by the person who believes it to be so.


A person shows up for work each day ready to do the task they are in charge of and perform it with exemplary precision, may not be committed. They take pride in the job they do, but go home and enjoy their time off. Normal, expected, and typical behavior. Any employee has the right for good pay and then to have freedom when they leave.


Commitment to self and family comes first. Loyalty to a company or job only happens if all other needs are met first. Since companies will not commit 100% to employees, they cannot honestly expect those they hire to do the same.


If you own a company, to succeed you need to be committed. The commitment doesn’t have to be by devoting every waking hour to the business. Smart people put other competent people in charge of what they can’t or don’t enjoy doing. There is no shame in delegating work to others. To have success on a big scale, you need others to make it happen.


When you take the time to ponder if you are really committed, does your life depend on it? People going to war need to be committed just like the fire fighters or they might not go home again.


I think most businesses need a balance of commitment to the business and then to family. Never forgetting the respect you need to show those who have helped you succeed, as in mentors, coaches, employees, and customers.


Remember you can never succeed in business without others, a role someone will need to play for our success.


What are your thoughts on commitment? Please leave a comment in the section below.


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