Almost every excuse or reason you can give for why some solution or approach won’t work for you (or a client) or why something can’t be done can be exposed for the lie it is by asking
What’s your level of commitment?
Why don’t we do what we say we want to do?
When people hear that I put my fitness first every morning, they often say things like “I wish I could do that.”
If you really wish is, why don’t you do it?
You may have a lot of reasons. Some may even sound valid. But here’s the truth?
one reason is that you may not be fully committed. Even if you think you are.
We are all quick to give reasons why we can’t do something, why a certain solution won’t work for us or why something is impossible. It’s interesting to see how those reasons fade away in a different situation.
What’s your level of commitment to the outcome, process, idea, vision, or mission? What’s your level of commitment to others? Whats you’re level of commitment to yourself?
This theme plays out for you every day, in big and small ways. In little moments, you get the tests that ask you: how committed are you, really?
We all have places where we are more committed and places where we are less committed. We can use this information to help us bring new actions to places where we feel stuck.
When we realize what we do to meet certain outcomes, we can apply those actions to other outcomes, if we desire to do so.
Step 1: Create Awareness
The first step here is to notice where this happens. This requires you to be willing to look honestly at your decisions and actions, or hire someone (like a coach) to reflect back to you what you say you want and what you are actually doing.
For example, a coaching client told me that she worked with another coach to come up with 5 things that she should do to improve her real estate business, but she wasn’t doing them. The other coach asked her to commit to specific times to do those things. My client said she couldn’t do that, explaining to me that
She [the other coach] doesn’t understand that I can’t do that [commit to specific times] in my business. Because I don’t know what my schedule will be. You know what it’s like.
I do know what it’s like.
And also: this is a prime example of a bullshit excuse. The other coach had let my client get away with this. She compromised on finding “some time” every day, but she did not commit to a specific time.
I gently reminded my client that in our first call, we scheduled each session in our 3-month coaching term. The entire thing took about 5 minutes and we had every session in the calendar.
Just noticing this helped her make a shift. She realized that the story she had been telling about what wasn’t possible for her was, in fact, possible. She revealed other places where she was willing to block off specific times. This helped us get to the real issues keeping her from doing what she said she wanted to do.
Step 2: Investigate
Whenever I notice this happening in my life, I investigate the “fault line:” the distinctions between the situations.
Why am I willing to make time for this thing and not that thing?Back to my client: She told me she couldn’t commit to her other coach to block specific times to work on outcomes for her business.
I asked her how she was able to commit to dates and times for our sessions.
That’s different. This [our sessions] is important. I get a lot out of this.
There it was.
This wasn’t about whether she could block specific times in advance. It was about her priorities and values.
Because she valued what she got out of our coaching sessions, her level of commitment was stronger. She was willing to schedule the time with me in advance because our sessions were important to her.
Again, we all do this. I will go to great lengths to ensure I get spots in my weekly trampoline and trapeze classes. I noiticed this and asked myself why I didn’t go to such lengths in all areas. What are the distinctions?
Perhaps you’re too busy to make time for the gym in the morning. It’s just not possible, given your work commitments.
But if you got an opportunity for a big prospective client, Or if you needed to take care of a flood in your basement, I’m guessing your schedule would clear very quickly.
What’s the difference?
If you can find the distinction, you can navigate the block that keeps you from progressing forward.
Caution: No Judgments Allowed
A note of caution here: do not judge.
First, do not judge yourself. It’s tempting to berate yourself when you realize your level of commitment in one area doesn’t match what you would otherwise expect or desire.
Sometimes the honest answer is “not as committed as I might wish I was, or as others want me to be.” And that’s totally FINE. Where that’s true, own it.
Do Not Judge Others
Also, it’s very tempting to use this on people as a form of guilt or checking them on their priorities.
We have all been on the giving and receiving end of a comment like this:
You’re too busy to have dinner with me, but you have time to go to the movies with your friends.
You complain you can’t afford a vacation but you just bought a new car.
This is called making a judgment on someone else’s values and decisions.
Don’t do it.
Unless you are in the container of a coaching relationship, it’s not your place to even ask the question.
Step 3: Look Beyond the Obvious
The obvious response to “why will you do more in circumstance A versus B” is that “A is more important to me.”
This is often not true.
Back to my client. It would be easy to say “you’re not committed to your outcomes for your business.” But that was clearly not the case. After all, if she weren’t committed to improving her business, she wouldn’t have invested to work with me.
In fact, once she explained the five things that she wanted to do but was not making time for, I could see why she didn’t make time for those things. Knowing her, it was obvious to me where the disconnect was.
The awareness that you exert different levels of commitment is the starting point for the investigation.
The Power of Discerning Commitment in Others
Understanding your own level of commiment is essential. And also it helps to understand your clients’ levels of commitment. Especially before you start working with them.
I don’t want to waste my time with a homeowner who is a seller only at a given price, or a buyer who wants to buy only if he can score a “deal.” Nor do I want to work with a coaching client who is not committed to change.
Back to You
What’s your level of commitment? Are you committed for real, or only if it’s conveinient or meets your requirements?
This was the topic of My Circus Life Episode 85: What’s Your Level of Commitment?