Are You Over-Committed?

Yes, you are an over-committed over-achiever.

How do I know with such certainty?

  1. The chances are very high that you are reading this on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s weekend instead of spending time doing all of the life-balance things you constantly promise yourself you will do (maybe in last year’s New Year’s resolution).
  2. You wouldn’t have continued past the title of this article if you weren’t at least a little bit over-committed, trending toward an over-achiever.
  3. Pretty much all of us are over-committed in this 24/7, hype-connected, information-addicted country we inhabit (having lived in other countries, I know that to a large degree, this is an American phenomenon).

We over-commit based on false assumptions: we think that saying “no” shows weakness or inability to pull our weight, or because we are flattered to be asked and honored to be validated. But the strongest, most successful people I know are masters of saying NO to the wrong projects/requests/responsibilities/people so that they can say YES AND DELIVER POSITIVE RESULTS in situations that move them in the right direction (as defined by them).

The problem with over-commitment is two-fold: 1. It works in the short term to make you more successful, therein reinforcing the bad habit and 2. It ultimately drains your life spirit, leading to long-term burnout. Even Rafael Nadal, the world’s greatest male tennis player takes time to recover. He works hard and then rests; he pushes himself hard and then recovers without guilt. This cycle isn’t only part of the organic ebb and flow of a healthy existence, it’s a necessity to maximize your performance.

Here’s the good news – unlike a serious illness, you can stop your addiction to over-commitment right now. Make this your last article of the day. Finish the one or two things on your to-do list that absolutely have to be done before you leave, and LET IT GO. And for the rest of the weekend, when it comes to surfing, emailing, texting, Tweeting, Facebooking and reading the news, just say no. TURN YOUR OVER-COMMITMENT ENABLER OFF (laptop, iPhone, BlackBerry). Promise yourself you will get back to it on Monday so that for now you can relax an be present enough to under-commit.

To a new year with great clarity and deep calm. Cheers.

In the interest of spending an under-committed holiday focusing on friends and family, business lifestyle coach John Sileo wrote and pre-scheduled this article well before he needed it.