BN360 Spotlight Blog: On making big promises (and keeping them)

By Jesse Walp | BN360 Spotlight Professional for November 2019

I believe one of the things that has gotten me furthest in life is my tendency to make big promises… and then keep them.

As a sculptor, I always want to make an impression, and I’m very passionate about creating large scale works. They are often complex with thousands of pieces and have to be finished within tight deadlines. I never want to renege on a promise and have so far managed to pull them off.

My most significant public sculpture, Arch on Old Falls Street, had many moments of uncertainty from its year-long planning phase to its construction and installation in downtown Niagara Falls. The scale and material were new to me, and the engineering involved in making it strong and safe was quite a feat. The whole project required planning down to the finest detail, management of many people and services, and constant problem solving. The task was daunting and there were multiple times when there were only inches between success and failure, but my dedication and patience got me to the end.

Keeping promises requires commitment. It requires one to make sacrifices in service towards the ultimate goal, and in my capacity as a teacher I try to instill in my students the importance of this dedication. It’s easy to follow the path of least resistance, to move the goal posts closer, or to taper off at the end, but this mentality only leads to mediocrity.

We have to make big promises and keep them, to ourselves and those we work with, in order to truly progress.

Jesse Walp is the BN360 Spotlight Professional for November 2019. BN360 is the young professional engagement and development program of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership.