Get A Bigger Plate
Written by Krystal Zellmer
Do you have any words that trigger you? Words that when they are said your ears perk up and your heart pays attention? One of those words for me is “overcommitted.”
I work with many highly successful individuals. Not many people I know run light schedules. They accomplish a lot, and their
calendars reflect that. I have found that the most productive people I know never tell me they are overcommitted. Why is that? They definitely have more commitments than the average person, so why do they never say how overcommitted they are? It is interesting however, when others I work with state that they are overcommitted. Often, I am working with people who feel overwhelmed, overcommitted and like they have too much on their plate. They feel victim to the commitments they have already made, which leads them to the conclusion that they are overcommitted. The solution to being overcommitted for most people is to begin to cancel or break commitments to relieve the perceived pressure and feel less overwhelmed.
This is where the concept of overcommitment becomes so interesting. Have you ever felt overcommitted and begun looking for places to back out or back down to relieve the pressure? How do you get to this level of commitment in the first place? I’m going to suggest that canceling current commitments will not resolve the problem of overcommitment. That is a temporary solution. There was a thought process, or set of sunglasses that got you to where you are. If you simply chose to break your word and back out of things that you told yourself, or others, that you were going to do, you have in no way broken the cycle that got you there.
I am not suggesting you run yourself ragged. There is a time and a place in your life to create margin. I am suggesting that you
do not create space in your life by canceling commitments you have already made. Complete the agreements you are already engaged in, and then re-evaluate what you are saying yes to. The practice of completing your commitments because you gave your word will work to change your heart around how you perceive yourself in relationship to your word. This practice will also shift what you say yes to in the first place. If you become the person who completes everything you say yes to, you have just closed the fire escape of “overcommitment” as an excuse to back out. When you start finishing all your agreements, it will get you thinking twice about what in your life is valuable enough to you to say yes to in the first place.
It comes down to capacity. What do you believe your capacity is? Most people judge their capacity out of a preconceived notion of who they are or what they are capable of without ever having challenged that paradigm. I believe you can never know your capacity, you can only test it. This means until you give those commitments everything you have towards completion you will never know whether or not you could have accomplished them. If you do not complete them, but do give it 100% of the energy you have in front of you, you may be astonished at what you were actually able to achieve versus what you were telling yourself you could achieve. It may just expand your personal capacity for success.
Do you know what Brian Klemmer would have told you? Get a bigger plate. You are a leader. You are a compassionate samurai. You were built to make a difference and that is going to continue to call you to bigger and better things in life. How do you do it all? Get a bigger plate.