Over Committing

Here’s another quick write in my “Your Confidence Slip is Hanging” series.

When I say your confidence slip is hanging, I’m talking about “tells” that sometimes we are not even aware of. However, when we know which slip is hanging, we can transform our thinking and habits, thus transforming our confidence levels.

“I’ll do it!”

“OK, I’ll do it.”

“Since nobody else is volunteering, I’ll do it.”

“I don’t really want to, but I’ll do it.”

“She ain’t gon’ do it right. So, I might as well do it.”

“I have so much on my plate, but I’ll do it.”

Sound familiar? Then your over-committing slip might be hanging.

Many of us over-commit. Taking on every new task. Saying “yes” over and over again.  We sometimes convince ourselves that the “task” is an “opportunity” or that by taking it on, we’re proving that we’re “good people.”

 I used to over-commit. 

I often thought that I was the only person who could perform a certain task or lead a certain program the right way. Looking back on it, I think that my agreeing to take on everything was a means of making me worthy of love. 

I can’t believe I just admitted that to myself!

 But it’s true. I didn’t think that I was enough. I wasn’t confident that people would accept me for just being me. Therefore, I had to perform… do stuff… to make them accept me. So, I did!

 And I did! 

And I did! 

I was often overworked and frustrated, doing stuff I really didn’t want to do, trying to balance an already full plate as I added just one more thing. Because I wanted to be appreciated. Sounds crazy, right?  You want to know something else? I hardly ever asked for help because why? I thought asking for help would make me appear weak or incompetent or show a lack of confidence. Well, guess what?  It almost broke me. By constantly over-committing, I lived in a perpetual state of overwhelmedness. And here’s’ the thing. I didn’t feel any more appreciated than if I’d just said “no” to stuff. I found that I lacked the time and the confidence to even celebrate a job well done. Why? Because there’s no frickin’ way to reach an invisible standard, one based on what I THINK other people want from me. And here’s another thing. Filling my plate with stuff I didn’t want to do or didn’t HAVE to do left little space for doing what I absolutely loved. You remember the expression burning the candle at both ends? Well, I was burning the candle at both ends AND in the middle and was receiving little warmth or light. So, when the candle burned out, I was left sitting in the dark. Pissed off. Burnt up!

Can you believe I used to be proud of over-committing?

I used to love that expression that folks use to point at me with their adoring smiles and their eyes filled with admiration. They’d start their here’s some more work for you pitches with

“If you want something done, find the people who are already doing it.”

I absolutely, positively reject that notion because of two reasons:

1)    Those of us who overcommit also overwork. We give of our time and effort for people who often use this little cliche disguised as a compliment to pass on work that they don’t want to do, thus emptying their plates so they can keep on living their little balanced lives that they like to show off on social media, and they do it to the detriment of those of us who have taught ourselves that over committing is just service and that it’s a good thing, and that people love or respect us more for it.

2)    Passing on work, tasks, or opportunities to people who have already become experts in certain areas robs us of the chance to help other people develop their skill sets. And in the same vein, people who have already become experts in certain areas are consistently TAKING ON work, tasks, or opportunities robs us of the chance to help other people develop their skill sets. Doesn’t sound so honorable now, does it? 

So, this overcommitting is not about promoting growth. It’s about just getting stuff done. And at what cost? That’s what we need to think about.

So, coach yourself. You might want to go to your journal for this one.

  •     Where do you over-commit? 
  •     Why do you over-commit? What’s the payoff?
  •     What are you trying to achieve or avoid by over-committing?

If the answer to these questions leads you to the understanding that you are over-committing to others and under-committing to your dreams, your passions, and your desires, then you know what to do. Take a step on your behalf. That might include stuff like trying new things, seeking coaching support, or finding a tribe.

We at Clavis Coaching and Consulting can help you out with your next steps. You can find us at www.claviscoaching.com or you can sign up for our coaching and learning opportunities at www.patreon.com/coachclavis.

I’m in other places, too. Just look me up! And here’s the most important thing:


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