When You Tend to Overcommit

Look, I love to be able to support new things! Whether that’s new assignments, new projects, professionally, personally, or supporting a friend – I love to be able to do that. If a client comes to me and says, “Colleen, can you execute this new training?” I am thrilled for that! When I was in my corporate job, if I was invited to be part of a task force, I couldn’t wait to collaborate with new people. Or even a friend who’s getting ready for a celebration, I want to be able to support them in preparation and setting up, and being there that day.

I always want to say “yes.” And in the moment I’m thinking, “Wow, I’m really busy right now. How the hell am I going to make that happen? Oh, it’s okay! I’m going to get everything done, that thing’s not for another week, or I’ve got two months to work on that.” Like I’m going to get everything done. Yeah, you know how that story goes!

Then all of a sudden the time comes and you’re still way busy, thinking, “Oh my goodness, I can’t let this person down.” So you sacrifice sleep, you sacrifice your own personal time, whatever it is, in order to fulfill on that commitment you made. I recently saw a survey that 80% of people over-extend themselves; they take on more than they can possibly handle. And I’m sure you’re very much like that, especially if you’re a woman.

As women, we have this intrinsic desire to help everyone, and oftentimes you have a hard time saying “no.”

As you probably know, I teach a group exercise class. It’s a format called Body Combat, and I love it; I’ve been teaching for years. I also take a complimentary class as a member called Body Pump, and I often have other members and instructors tell me, “Colleen, you should also get certified in this Body Pump class!” And when they say that, I get that feeling in my stomach, like, “Oh yeah, that would be really cool! How exciting, that’s something new! I feel confident I could be good at that.”

But then I have to stop and say, hold on. That would be over-committing myself. And so how I’ve been able to check that box, be able to resist the urge to say “yes” or jump into that new thing, is simply by saying, if I say yes, does that align to where I want to go in my future? When I look ahead and think about everything I want, what my vision of my life is, professionally, personally, with my family, alone – would that align to that?

If I said yes, would that be a smart use of my resources? My time, my energy, my money? Would that get me closer to where I want to be in the future? As exciting as it would be to be a certified Body Pump instructor, as much as I know I would feel successful and have joy doing it, it doesn’t really get me closer to the future vision of my business and my personal life.

So, instead of sentencing yourself to over-commitment, just stop and ask, if I were to say yes to this, even though it feels kind of exciting, it feels like something you would be good at, if you were to say yes, is it really getting you closer to where you absolutely want to be? I offer that for you today, so that you can stop over-committing yourself, stop finding yourself in this spiral of business and panic and lack of sleep, and whatever else it is that you sacrifice when you feel you have to make right on a commitment that you probably shouldn’t have taken on in the first place.

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