Make it or break it: Talking about promises

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Make it or break it: Talking about promises

A man of his word: Sheen brought his promise-keeping movement to SLU.

Ryan Quinn/ Photo Editor

A man of his word: Sheen brought his promise-keeping movement to SLU. Ryan Quinn/ Photo Editor

A man of his word: Sheen brought his promise-keeping movement to SLU. Ryan Quinn/ Photo Editor

A man of his word: Sheen brought his promise-keeping movement to SLU. Ryan Quinn/ Photo Editor

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Non-profit founder on the betterment of humanity

A man of his word: Sheen brought his promise-keeping movement to SLU. Ryan Quinn/ Photo Editor

A man of his word: Sheen brought his promise-keeping movement to SLU.
Ryan Quinn/ Photo Editor

“Have you ever wondered what it’s like to go viral?”

Alex Sheen, founder of social movement and nonprofit ‘Because I said I would,’ posed this question to the Saint Louis University community during his presentation on Wed., Nov. 6. Over the past two years, Sheen has experienced worldwide recognition for his organization and knows what it feels like to become famous overnight.

‘Because I said I would’ is a social movement dedicated to the betterment of humanity through the making, and keeping, of promises. Sheen started the organization after his father passed away from small-cell lung cancer in 2012 as a way to remember him and the promises that he kept.

“My father was an average man,” said Sheen, “[but] there was one thing that he did exceptionally well – and that was keep his promises.”

Sheen wants to help others to remember their commitments and hopes to inspire others to make promises that better humanity. He said that about 80 percent of people do not fulfill their New Year’s resolutions, and he encouraged the audience to start small and not wait. Sheen himself had difficulty with his own advice when it came to quitting his job at age 27. He was the youngest manager at an enterprise software company that was voted a ‘Fortune 100 Best Place to Work’ and earned six figures a year.

Through ‘Because I said I would,’ Sheen began to see the harsh realities that some people faced and decided that he wanted to do more in life, so he left his job and life of comfort to help others. “You begin to think that maybe this dollar isn’t so all-mighty,” said Sheen. He told the audience, “You have to weigh and measure what really matters to you.”

‘Because I said I would’ uses promise cards to help people remember the importance of their promises. The organization sends these cards to whomever requests them, anywhere in the world, at no cost. People are then supposed to use these cards to write down a promise and give it to whomever the promise is addressed, as a way to stay motivated to stick to their commitments. Thus far, the organization has distributed over 2.1 million promise cards in 24 months to over 105 different countries.

“The only people who change this world are those that are committed,” Sheen said. “Reflect on the promises that will make you better…and commit.”

At the end of his presentation, Sheen distributed ten promise cards to each audience member to encourage their participation in the movement. He told the audience to not only care about their promises, but also to act on them, and reminded people that it’s not going to be easy – but to remember why they made that promise.