Commitment Issues

I don’t think this will come as a surprise to anyone that I, an average man, have commitment issues. However, be careful not to misunderstand me. I have no problems keeping commitments that I am full engafed to. After all, I have been married for 15 years, have had two successful carreers positions in IT that I have kept for well over 6 years each and I have been running the website since 2001. And let’s not forget that I have played for the same soccer team since moving back Canada and that this year I had planned to cycle 5000KM: as of today, I am still cycling and have put in over 5140KM.

No the commitment issues I am runnign into on a daily basis is making any NEW commitments. I am sure that many of you also have encountered the dilema of simply not knowing whether or not it’s a good idea to take any new projects, tasks, responsibilities… basically any new commitments.

Have you ever felt overwhelmed by the thought of taking on anything else because you know whole heart-idly that you not be able to give it the same level of time, dedication and thought as all the other commitments you have been nuturing over the years? Have you held back on giving someone a seemingly simple answer because you know very well that it won’t just end there? There are always followup questions, concerns and tasks that simply won’t fit into your schedule.

We here’s the news flash: This IS normal!

What? You don’t understand. It’s actually quite simply. I know I have my set standard for service and helping others. I also know what I am fully capable of accomplishing, however given my current set of commitments on any given day, I also know that my windows of opportunities are short. Far too oftent his year some one has asked me to get involved and I have held back anything more than mere advice.

Let me give you an example:

We bought a boat this year and decided to spend our free time and vacation just learning to sail it, looking after it and more importantly how to crew properly together as a family. This meant no camping trips on land and no week long car journeys to see family and friends. It also meant NOT doing any kind of serious racing and NOT planning anything more than a few overnight cruises in our familiar lake and part of the seaway. Trust me, Mother Nature took care of reminding me not to push my luck and she did this on more than one occasion. Sure we had to sacrifice some long weekends at freinds cottages or some evenings BBQ but it also allowed us to swim at the sand bar, camp out on the boat moored off of wildlife islands and enjoy a few pints at the yacht club.

All this to say that hesitating before you jumped both feet into a new project is a very natural survival instinct and there is nothing wrong with having these kind of commitment issues. Too often I see friends, colleagues and geeks be the yes man portaying a team player and then never being around for the rest of the project. As a father of four, I have learned the hard way that you can not be everywhere at once. As an adult and a professional you have to learn this pretty quick before you become a project bouncer or serial job hopper.

Learn from your commitment issues and take the time to evaluate whether to go ahead or not. If you find too many obstacle and excuses not to commit, then step back. Once you have done this a few times you will have a much better appreciation for when the right commitment does come along.

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