Are your commitments enabling or crippling you? Learn what you can do to navigate the tapestry of prior commitments that can limit your progress.
Are your commitments crippling you? Are your commitments enabling you?
“I committed to doing X, but now things have changed, I realize the reasons that led me to make the commitment are no longer valid and I really loathe having to keep doing it. What do I do?”
X can represent whatever the commitment is. From being an accountability buddy to someone else in a coaching group, to being part of an charity, to meeting a group to play your favourite game to being the chair at the annual conference.
Couple-a-thoughts here. And, as always, hold them loosely!
We all make commitments based on two things, right?
(1) what we know (like we really ever know anything), and
(2) what we think we know (if I had $1 for everything I thought I knew)
Once we get deeper into a commitment, two things happen...
One - a solid chunk of what we were “sure” we knew turns out to be wrong. A circumstance is not what we thought it was, a person or partner or resource isn’t what what thought. Or,... , we aren’t who we thought and we don’t feel the way we thought we would.
It’s like Mark Twain supposedly said, “it ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.”
And, two - a solid chunk of what we admitted from the word-go was a complete leap of faith, well that ends up being anywhere from a little bit off to profoundly, entirely, utterly, WRONG.
Now, sometimes these things are wrong in ways that - taken as a whole - still preserve our original motivation for saying hell yes in the first place. So, we stay. We keep the commitment, because our original motivation for it remain intact, even though some of the details have shifted.
But, other times, we find ourselves in this place where reality is all...
“this is NOT what I agreed to and I NEVER would have said yes if I’d know before I got started.”
And, the thing is, it’s not even about anyone being underhanded or dishonest. Sometimes, things just change, murkiness becomes clarity, facts become clear, circumstances evolve.
In fact, the thing that may have changed most is, um, well, you, your own personal circumstance, clarity about what you want, how much time and energy you really have and what you’re willing to work or sacrifice for.
That’s all okay. Question is, when this happens, what are you going to DO about it?
As with everything, I don’t have all the answers, but here’s something to play with…
If you had to make the decision now, knowing what you know, would you still have said yes?
If the answer is no, then start working on figuring out how to exit as gracefully as possible. If you can do it with integrity, minimal disruption and effort, make it happen fast. If you were “duped” into saying yes by the misrepresentations of others, staying with something or someone out of a sense of obligation to those who’ve misled you is not a reason to remain in the game.
If others have committed resources, investment, effort and made sacrifices on the basis of your original yes, then it’ll likely take more time to figure out how to put together the pieces in a way that will let you make your exit with integrity. That may mean recruiting other resources, people or assets to step in, bring a project to place where the impact of your departure is easier to weather. Setting up and documenting systems and processes to allow someone else to step in may be a part of that process.
What Happens When You Don’t Follow through on your commitments
Managing your priorities properly will allow you to have longevity in your results. What happens when you don't follow through on commitments.
The following facts are based on US statistics.
• There will be two million marriages in the USA this year and one million divorces.
• 95 percent of divorces are caused by a “lack of communication”.
• The average working person spends less than two minutes per day in meaningful communication with their
spouse or “significant other”.
• The average working person spends less than thirty seconds a day talking to their children.
These statistics reflect people who did not make their marriage or their relationships with their kids their number one priority. They did not follow through on their commitments they made.
Many people will spend more time on choosing a car, picking a dress, or planning for a holiday than they will on improving their marriage, improving communication with their partner, or communicating with their children.
Many people will spend more time on choosing a car or planning for a holiday
than they will on improving their marriage and communicating with their children.
There were 2.5 million deaths in the USA in 2014. 75 percent were from causes that were largely preventable:*
* CDC report: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/
All the above revolve around priorities and habits and how people have become habituated to spend their time. They have literally “chosen” to spend their time on death-dealing activities over fifteen to forty years. To me its not being committed to living fully, energetically and passionately.
Do any of the situations below sound familiar?
• Missing deadlines, feelings of constant rushing
• Indecision about taking action, time spent on non-productive activity
• Feeling overwhelmed, fatigued or listless
• Not enough time for things that you like to do or for family and friends
• Facing the day without plans or goals, feeling distracted from the important things.
If so, you may benefit from the better ways of managing your core priorities. You also may be not committing fully or committing to the wrong things.
Now, we should also talk about another situation. The one where you’re committed to play a part in something that is really hard, shows no real possibility of getting better, but it is something you feel a certain moral, ethical or familiar obligation to stick with. We see this often with commitments to people, groups or communities in dire need, or family members in need.
If the obligation, here, comes largely from a place of shame or guilt or any other personally-destructive motivation, or if it leads you to be in a place of genuine physical or emotional harm, that’s not the reason to stay the course.
But, if it comes from a more genuine place of love, compassion, gratitude, service or even, for some, a sense of fairness, then, even if we’d really rather bow out or be doing a million other things, there’s a real reason to stay in it. At that point, our job becomes:
· Making the situation as good/nourishing as it can be
· Rebuilding the circumstances of our lives AROUND that commitment to allow us to be as physically and
psychologically okay as we can be while we ride the wave of our commitment AND
· Knowing that this is a decision we’ve made to honour the commitment and all that comes with it, for reasons that are meaningful to us.
These elements are really important, because they lay the foundation for us to continue on from a place of intentionality and agency, rather than victimhood. They allow sacrifice to more readily transmute to meaning. That doesn’t necessarily make things easier, but can make them better.
One lucky listener that posts a review on iTunes will win a private confidential consultation and coaching with me on discovering your soul’s purpose. I will lead you on a personal journey to discover your unique mind-body psychosomatic map of your life. You will get a detailed report and a personal 45 minute consultation with me that is worth thousands.
On this podcast I’m going to help you design a life that works. So you are able to say yes to the things that matter and eliminate everything else that slows you down. The more clear you can be about how to organize your daily life to support your bigger vision, the more you’ll step into your true potential, stay on track and accomplish all that you want and deserve. Are you ready to make that happen?
Feel free to reach out to me to ask your questions at AskDrSun.com. Your life is a gift. Design it. Do what matters and join me each week as we get closer to designing the life of your dreams. I am Dr Sun. Join me next week on Your Life by Design.