Norman-Rockwell-Poster-Card-C10231128 Years ago, a teacher of mine, Ed Burghard — the very first time we met — told me about his Handshake Document. 

“Once I shake your hand,” Ed said, “I automatically make these promises.”

He handed me a sheet of paper. “You may hold me accountable.”

I loved that.
During the five or so years since that conversation, I’ve kept my own list of promises on this website. It’s my way of inviting you to hold me accountable to my values.

Out Of Date Promises
Well, it’s been a couple years since I revised this document — years during which I changed my life dramatically. I learned. I grew. And I outgrew many of my promises. (Some of them accommodated aspects of what look now like personal inauthenticity.)

So, here’s a fresh version of my promises. Whenever I say “Hello,” that simple “Hello” isn’t so simple. It’s shorthand for this longer list of promises. (There just isn’t time for me to speak all these promises every time I say “hello.”)

What Do You Promise?
Writing a list of Automatic Promises is a useful exercise in creativity and ethics.

It’s a way of clarifying — for yourself — what is not negotiable, what you stand for.