When we say yes to too many things, we over-commit. That can create great stress, great frustration, and can have us lose integrity when we don’t show up to deliver. That integrity can impact not only ourselves, how we feel about ourselves, our confidence, the potential that we’re creating for ourselves and also spreading ourselves too thin, but it also has an impact on how other people see us when we’re not able to deliver the things that we committed to. It’s okay to go back and to have some discussion and take some things off your plate. Give yourself that permission.
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Reducing Commitment Without Compromising Quality
I want to talk about commitments. The challenge is what happens when we say yes to too many things? When we say yes to too many things, we over-commit. That can create great stress, great frustration, and can have us lose integrity when we don’t show up to deliver. That integrity can impact not only ourselves, how we feel about ourselves, our confidence, the potential that we’re creating for ourselves and also spreading ourselves too thin, but it also has an impact on how other people see us when we’re not able to deliver the things that we committed to or when we just are exhibiting the energy of being so stressed out. What we’re going to focus on is what to do when you over-commit.
You’re overwhelmed, you’re feeling over-committed, you’ve taken on too much. What can you do? It’s an endless cycle of you just trying to catch up and keep up with missed promises and all the energy that goes into smoothing out a situation when you weren’t in integrity and you didn’t meet the goal that you set and the declaration that you gave to someone. How do you come out of that vicious cycle? Number one, de-commit. Take a step back and take a look at what you’ve committed to and what’s really important and urgent, and get clarity in that, and maybe even ask some qualifying questions to understand what is most important and clarify the expectation of that delivery. You can either de-commit and say, “We’re going to have to push this deadline back for three weeks or two weeks,” or whatever is comfortable with you with the capacity and let them know that you don’t want to compromise quality. These are the different things that go into making that a quality delivery.
That opens you up for another aspect which is renegotiating the scope. Perhaps you can deliver something by the date that they need and maybe even the most important part. At the same time, you’re opening up a renegotiation so that you can change the commitment so that you can deliver it maybe in two parts. You’ve got a few strategies here to de-commit, to say no and to push something back, to renegotiate the scope, and to ask qualifying questions to make sure that you were at the same level of expectation. It’s that simple. By taking a step back and looking at how you can do those three things, you’re going to be able to reduce and even possibly eliminate the overwhelm that you’re feeling right now. What are you waiting for? Go ahead and get a piece of paper and take a look at all those commitments that you have. Look for opportunities to de-commit, to renegotiate, and where you need to ask some qualifying questions. I look forward to hearing your feedback in how this worked for you. Please share this with others. When this works for you, why wouldn’t you want to share it with a lot of people so that they, too, can get this benefit?
I’m sharing these strategies with you because I use them myself. As a matter of fact, this one I use most often because I do find myself from time to time saying yes to too many things. I love to start new things. I love to support people in getting things started or helping them get unstuck when they’re stuck. That has come at a cost for me sometimes in terms of having to take away time that I had dedicated to my family or time that I had dedicated to special projects that I want to move forward. There comes a point where I recognize I’m feeling frustrated or I’m feeling a little bitter because I’m giving up my family time for this other project that really isn’t as important to me.
What I do is I take a step back and I reevaluate things. It’s okay. I give myself permission to reevaluate and to de-commit from certain things and to look at things differently. I want to share with you these three points of what I do when I feel a little frustrated or I feel like I’ve taken on too much. How do I change that balance and look at it in a different way? I’ve also appreciated that some of the urgency and the commitments that I’ve made, when I asked questions, they weren’t really even necessary that I put such stringent timelines on it. Going back and asking whether those timelines are absolutely necessary or whether there would be some flexibility in the timeline is absolutely okay. It’s much better to do that in the beginning before you accept the commitment. However, give yourself permission to reevaluate what you already said yes to. It’s okay to go back and to have some discussion and take some things off your plate. Give yourself that permission.
This episode was all about when you’ve already said yes and you’ve committed to too many things, how do you get out of that bind and how do you know you’re in the bind? If you start to feel overwhelm and frustration, there’s a good indication that you’ve taken on too much or at least you feel like you’ve taken on too much. You feel like you’ve taken on things that aren’t your highest priority and they’re derailing you from getting the things done that are most important to you. That’s a good time. I’ve included a worksheet because I want to give you that assignment this week. If you’re feeling that way, go ahead and write down all the things that you’ve committed to. Look at them in each of the categories, the three areas that we discussed in this session, and see where there’s an opportunity to de-commit, to renegotiate, or to ask further clarifying questions to make things easier for you to break it down and break it apart.
Before you get yourself into this situation, think twice before you say yes. When you say yes and you commit to something, you are saying no to something else. Think carefully, ask better questions before you commit, and look at the focus on the things that are most important to you that are going to drive your business, your relationships, and your life in the direction that you want. The idea here is to take back time. It’s to think about things beforehand and to invest your time, your money and your energy more wisely. Thanks for being here.