I haven’t a clue where this colloquialism came from, but it was one of my Mom’s favorites. Especially when I hadn’t completed a task that was my responsibility.
Each Saturday was the day to clean my comfy room upstairs under the eaves. But there were also radio shows I loved to listen to, so I became easily distracted. I’d lay on the bed listening intently while the clock ticked away. Then of course, there were the classic books beckoning me to open and read a few more pages – pages that turned into chapters. Moral of story – I cleaned the room in a hurry before I heard Mother climbing the stairs to check out my progress.
“Linda, you’ve just done this with a lick and a promise,” was her stern reprimand! And of course, I had to turn off the radio; hide “The Count of Monte Cristo” and get down to the dirt I had glossed over.
I chuckle now remembering how frightened I was when hearing her footsteps on the stairs, knowing I had not lived up to her high standards of “clean your room”. Somehow over the years, I’ve walked considerably far away from the “lick and a promise” routine – and find myself becoming my Mom when I find others failing to live up to my standards of “job well-done”.
Simply put – a “lick and a promise” gets old, wearying and actually depresses me when it occurs time and time again!
So if we are doing what we love and know it’s our destiny and purpose, why engage in the ‘lick and a promise’ approach? Why just do it half-arsed as some say? Here’s what I think gets in the way of giving something our all:
1. Procrastination – putting off until the very last moment what we should have done in timely manner. Some women in business are master’s of the ‘last minute’ which is fine for them; but if others are dependent on my part, well. . . .
2. Multi-tasking – It used to be the case that to be viewed as very good at multi-tasking was a good thing. However, many experts now disagree. While not an expert; I tend to agree. I’m good at multi-tasking, but only because some things get just a ‘lick and promise!
3. Spread too thin – Women in business, especially a small business where we wear all the hats, are so good at getting involved in far more than is realistic or practical. The old adage – “if you want something done, ask a busy woman” is too true. If we want to do justice to our professional lives, as well as our personal lives; then learning to say “no” is an imperative.
4. Lack of deep commitment – We may think we’re deeply committed to this thing or that; but in reality, our commitment may not be as deep as we’d like. It’s hard to admit that we signed onto something about which we felt deeply committed in the moment – only to find that the long haul just doesn’t meet with the level of our expectations. When that occurs? Time to give it up!
5. Distractions – Let’s face it, some women simply can’t focus. If life intervenes with matters unrelated to the tasks required of us; we’re likely to find our heads focused anywhere but on the tasks we’ve agreed to perform. The “squeaky wheel will get the oil”; which means others just as important matters will be done with – you guessed it – a “lick and a promise“.
So how do we make course corrections? Simple – we get rid of everything in life that interferes with what we truly LOVE (and I do mean “truly”); learn to say “NO” to that which would take our focus away from the “truly loved”; and attend to one task at a time until it’s done with the greatest of care.
There you have it. Nothing tough about that – right? Well for us women who want to give our all to all we choose to do; it’s no easy task.
Perhaps the answer lies in the 3-letter word “all“!
This subject is more than one post can address as it’s tough for many of us to say “no” to the many things that delight us. And we have personal lives to contend with as well as the demands of business and career. Then there are holidays and vacations and ‘stuff’ that pulls us from the appointed tasks to which we’re committed. So perhaps I’ll say more about this in upcoming posts.
If any reading this have suggestions and ideas to help us do more than give live a ‘lick and a promise’ – please add your thoughts for consideration. Love to know how you avoid this energy-sapping trap!
Linda S. Fitzgerald, Visionary Partner
Champion of Ordinarily Extraordinary Women of the World
A Women’s Place Network, Inc. dba
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[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]https://pbs.twimg.com/profile_images/2382941337/pjm5n494765lxfks49h7_400x400.jpeg[/author_image] [author_info]My passion is to see women become all they are designed to be – personally and professionally. I write, teach, mentor and coach with that passion in mind. As an author and prolific blogger, I reach out to women in all walks of life, especially women of faith to empower and equip them for greatness. [/author_info] [/author]