You are participating in a meeting or conference call, engaging in an in-person or telephone conversation or your smartphone rings or vibrates with a new text, e-mail or voicemail message. You are being asked to respond immediately and to make a commitment of your time, money, energy, presence, knowledge, experience or perhaps some or all of the above.
Often you are so delighted and flattered to have been asked, in the glow and heat of the moment and before you have even checked your schedule or thought about it, you respond with a resounding “YES”! Soon after the initial excitement has subsided and you have checked your schedule only to find that you are now double booked do you realize that you are now overcommitted. Reality has set in and you must decide which of the two commitments will have to go as you can only be in one place at one time. You then ask yourself why you made the second commitment in the first place.
Some of the reasons that you make a commitment quickly and easily are: you want to be liked, you have trouble saying no, you equate being important with being busy and overcommitted, you get caught up in the pressure to respond or you think this new commitment is even better than the initial commitment.
Rather than responding to a request immediately, it’s wise to say “let me get back to you”, take some time to think about it, make a decision, communicate it and then move on. This will keep you from second-guessing yourself and having any regrets. You keep your power and you choose when and how much of it to give away.
So the next time you make a commitment, remember a commitment is a commitment. Take action, honour all commitments and never drop the ball. Be the one others can count on to be there and count in to get done what needs to get done.