Why 'Dabbling' Isn't Enough: 7 Ways to Fully Commit and SucceedMar 23, 2021
Each week, when I meet with my clients I often ask, “On a scale from 1 to 10, what is your level of commitment to your own success?”
Of course, to the number, each of my clients responds enthusiastically, “10!”
I, of course, know that this isn’t always the case, and they typically prove this to me when I ask them about the assignments that they promised the week prior. Some version of “the dog ate my homework” shows to them, and to me, that their level of commitment isn’t necessarily where it needs to be.
Total Commitment is tough, right?
Well, yes and no.
Making the commitment is easy. We’ve been making commitments our entire lives. KEEPING them is the hard part.
While it’s possibly easiest to see commitment issues in the dating world, being afraid of commitment isn’t a malady reserved strictly for romantic relationships. In fact, I see a lack of commitment being one of the top reasons that businesses fail.
The restaurateur closes his business after just one year because he has gotten himself buried in debt and sees no way out. He doesn’t see that changing his business model, along with a few phone calls to his investors and bankers, could get him back on the right track.
The plumber decides that he should just “go get a job” instead of going out and making sales calls every day. He doesn’t see that a few consistent weeks of pounding the pavement each quarter could be all that it takes to have more work than he ever imagined.
The interior designer refuses to return calls in the evenings or on the weekends because “I’m not going to let this business take over my life!” She doesn’t see that the system that she’s created of always doing things at the last minute and not honestly communicating upfront with her customers is what has created this issue and that a few small changes could be all it takes to get her on track to the life she’s always imagined.
"The difference between involvement and commitment is like ham and eggs. The chicken is involved; the pig is committed."
So why are we so commitment-phobic, and what can we do about it?
Here are some of the reasons why we're so afraid of commitment:
1.) We feel vulnerable
Vulnerability is scary. The idea that there is a possibility of being attacked or harmed, or looking like we don’t know what we’re doing is sometimes more than we can bear. The desire to be perceived as someone who has all the answers or has their “poop in a scoop,” as my friend Tommy says, is strong, and our pride often keeps us falling back into the life we are trying to get away from.
2.) We believe that there is something “better” out there
No, we’re not “picky,” we’re scared! We’re scared that this commitment will take away the possibility of some other awesome thing. Somewhere in our past, someone (or more likely, some motivational poster) told us that to settle was to fail. This constant pursuit of something better keeps us from finding joy and purpose in the thing that’s right in front of us.
3.) We have unrealistic expectations
From commercials for vacation resorts to porn to romance novels and the Hallmark Channel (sorry, honey), we are constantly barraged with a false sense of reality. Don’t believe me, just go to a nudist resort...trust me, it’s not all Barbies and Kens playing pool volleyball. We see our neighbors driving fancy cars and automatically believe that they must be more successful than we are, when the truth may be that they are in debt up to their eyeballs, or have a trust fund to take care of their expenses.
4.) We convince ourselves that we can, “do it later”
We are constantly trying to tell ourselves that we aren’t ready, we don’t have enough experience, or maybe later is a better time for this. We believe that a requirement for commitment is that we are 100-percent ready and until that point comes (which it never does of course) that we shouldn’t act. Our mantra is: “Ready, aim…aim…aim...aim…”
5.) We are “stuck” and feel trapped
We believe that we need to feel good in order to make a strong commitment. We say things like, “If I could just get this next order out, THEN I’ll be able to start going on sales calls,” or, “I’m just in a rut, as soon as this goes away, THEN I’ll be able to move forward with my expansion plans.” This feeling of being trapped and stuck makes it hard for us to even think about the next step.
6.) We are letting the past predict the future
Somehow we still remember the sting of that ONE TIME that someone said “no” to us and we never want to feel that again. Experiences work like touching a hot burner; we get burned enough times and we become conditioned to stop even going near the oven. We believe that we haven’t learned from our experiences or improved our odds at success, and that “It will always go this way for me.”
Here’s what we can do about it:
1.) Be Authentic
Stop pretending that you’re something other than what you really are. At the end of the day, the people in our lives see through all of that bullshit anyway. We want nothing more in life than to be ourselves. That’s the feeling we’re all chasing: that simple, awesome joy that comes from not having to pretend to be something we’re not. We call that feeling “authenticity.” That feeling will help you align your ACTUAL goals with your ACTUAL self and you’ll be much more likely to commit to them, knowing that their achievement is a validation of your ONE, TRUE SELF.
2.) Think Both/And Instead of Either/Or
Life isn’t like the candy aisle when we were eight years old and told that we could only pick ONE candy bar. Life is unlimited and we can make both/and decisions all of the time. We need to take the pressure off the perfect choice and realize that it’s just a choice. Ironically, knowing that we can make other choices later helps us make ONE choice now.
3.) Lower Your Expectations
I know this sounds like the worst possible advice in the world, but it’s maybe the best advice I can give to help you tackle your commitments. We’ve been taught to THINK BIG, and I think that’s a problem. If we have goals that are too big and we don’t reach them, we believe that we’ve failed. When we set our expectations lower, the chances of achieving our goals increase, and when we DO achieve them, we feel fantastic and ready to take the next step to a (slightly) bigger goal. By breaking things down into smaller, more achievable steps, we set ourselves up for easy commitments that build upon one another over time.
4.) Create A Sense Of Urgency About Everything
The faster that we fail, the faster we can succeed. Urgency is an underappreciated and under-attained trait. Urgency is essential for making change and for making progress. Things do not move forward without the impetus for change. Change is hard. Making progress is hard. Things don’t happen by sitting back. Things don’t happen by watching or waiting for others. By adding urgency (not stress and pressure, that’s something different) to everything that we do, we can reduce the time that it takes to move on to the next step and that sense of progress motivates us to continue our streak.
5.) Do It Anyway
We must remove the requirement of “feeling good” from our list of conditions that must be satisfied before moving forward. In fact, the opposite is true; the action, the doing, makes us FEEL GOOD. One of the best ways to do this is by using your ideal calendar. Don’t feel like making sales calls? Schedule it for 20 minutes every day, and do it — poorly if necessary. Just do it anyway.
6.) Believe That The Future Is Better Than The Past
It is. Ask any 50-year-old and they’ll tell you that your thirties are better than your twenties and your forties will be even better yet. Sure, there are a few things that we wish we could go live over again, but overall things generally get better over time. Use this to your advantage.
7.) "Tempus Fugit, Memento Mori"
Loosely translated this means “Time Flies, Remember Death.” By believing this and focusing on the fact that NOW is the time to do the things that matter, our commitments deepen. As my friend, and subscriber of this newsletter, Andrew, says each week in our mastermind group, “We’re all going to die, just not today.” So get busy living, or get busy dying.
Listen, you know when you’re committed and when you’re simply involved.
Moving toward a STRONG commitment to your business and your life is what it will take to succeed faster, live better and create the life that you’ve always imagined.
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