Anyone else feel like overcommitment is a buzzword? Like, in order for someone to protect their peace they have to back down in terms of what they are committed to? I love personal development so much because it takes our everyday lives and turns every moment into an opportunity for discovery. If you have been wrestling with feelings of overcommitment and overwhelm, this month's article is just for you.
If you have been to Klemmer’s Personal Mastery workshop then you have seen our analogy of sunglasses. Sunglasses are simply ideas you buy as reality and then you operate accordingly based on those ideas. What are your sunglasses around commitment? When do you commit and why? You have 1,000’s of sets of sunglasses; some that work, some that don’t. In this conversation you want to be in discovery about your sunglasses around commitment.
Why do you say yes? If you have a set of sunglasses around a need to be liked or accepted, or a need to please people, you may find yourself committing to things you never wanted to do in the first place - on automatic. Dr. Myles Munroe said, “Yes and No are the two most important words you will ever say.” Are you aware of what you are saying yes to and why? Maybe you don’t relate to that. Maybe you say yes out of pure FOMO. Do you know what FOMO stands for? Fear Of Missing Out. Do you find yourself saying yes out of excitement instead of out of true commitment? Maybe you say yes because you believe it is the right thing to do, the appropriate thing to do, yet you are not enrolled in the true value of the commitment for you. Maybe you have a set of sunglasses that you are the type of person who loves to be seen as busy, because if you are busy you must be important.
One step in realigning your life to be one of design instead of circumstance is to do the discovery work to find out why you are saying yes in the first place. Take the time to investigate your feelings and your behavior to discover your sunglasses around commitment. When you discover your sunglasses and address them, you place yourself back in the driver's seat of the choices you are making.
Here is the thing, once you have said yes, regardless of why you said yes, finish what you started. Most people I meet that say they are overcommitted want to pull back, and cancel a bunch of commitments to relieve the feeling that they are experiencing. They want to hit the pressure release valve. The reality is, your word is your word. You made agreements. If you are not operating from a place of renegotiation (which gives the other party the ability to say yes or no) then you are just canceling on people who are counting on you. Brian Klemmer says in The Compassionate Samurai, “You are only as good as the last word you kept.” Part of shifting your behavior is paying the prices associated with what your programs (sunglasses) got you into in the first place. The solution to overcommitment is not cancellation. If all you do is cancel the commitment you believe is creating your feeling of overwhelm, then you will have a temporary relief from the current experience, and you will more than likely immediately recreate the pattern. My suggestion… finish what you started. Stick with your agreements. Stay committed past the point where the feeling of excitement around the agreement has left you. After you are complete on your commitments, reevaluate. If you are unhappy with the results or the pace, restructure your next commitments moving forward.
Overwhelm is a choice. This might stink to hear and it continues to ring true. No one can make you feel overwhelmed. You are in charge of your feelings and emotions. Choosing to feel overwhelmed in no way supports you in being productive or at peace. Then why do you choose it? It seems that we believe that if we can get people to co-sign on our overwhelm we will have a great excuse to pull back. We would be justified in backing down. I’m not suggesting that you not honor yourself. And I can’t think of anything more honoring that you could do for yourself than to keep your word with yourself and with others.
If you have ever found yourself saying, “My plate is just too full!” Brian Klemmer used to respond with, “Get a bigger plate!”
If you want to create more in this world you are going to get to expand the capacity you believe you are capable of carrying. How much do you believe you can lift? For me keeping agreements and expanding capacity is a lot like building muscle. I have worked with a physical trainer off and on over the past few years. In the beginning of my fitness journey I was frustrated that I was not creating the results I said I wanted. I thought I was pushing myself. When my trainer watched me lifting weights he almost immediately instructed me to add more weight. I thought I was lifting all I could and he challenged me to lift heavier. Here is the thing, until I was challenging my muscles to the point I didn’t believe they could do one more rep, until I was willing to test the true limit of my capacity, I wasn’t gaining the full benefit of the exercise. The point where I was actually in growth was the place I wanted to quit. Muscles are interesting in this way… they break down to rebuild. I think our capacity to achieve is similar. We get to truly test our boundaries and stretch in order to dramatically shift our patterns. We get to get to the point of shaking and still push through. I believe this is how we get a bigger plate. It’s not merely a shell game of energy, it is a true rebuilding of our agreements muscle.
If you are finding yourself struggling with overcommitment there is good news… you are in the game! Use this article as your tool to complete and reevaluate what you are actually capable of instead of predetermining your limits. Your own excuses are actually your own worst enemy.