Search
  • Gladys Agwai

Is Your Overcommitment Causing Disappointment?


“When we escape the trap of overcommitment, we can serve from a place of love instead of hustling from a place of fear.”


You overcommit because you do not want to disappoint others. But then you disappoint yourself and others because you overcommit. According to studies, three out of five people have said they will never get everything done on their commitment list. It is habitual which leaves you with worry, overwhelm, stress, and a spirit of defeat. This makes it almost impossible to be in the present moment with the people and situations that really matter. Your brains are drained, on overload, or burned out from allowing yourself to:

• Be pulled in many different directions.

• Be pressured to get more things done in a shorter period.

• Worry about your growth, keeping your job/business/relationships, financial and emotional support, or health.

• Constantly switch your brain between two or more tasks (smart tools, TV, talking to kids and others, reading a book, cooking, projects).


You work so hard to focus on a group of things you or someone else want, need, or must do. But the brain can only focus on one or two things. Your brain slows down and the rest of those things on the commitment list sit like boulders on your shoulders. You become 40% less efficient as your body releases stress hormones and adrenaline. According to Forbes, most people are living their “normal” lives full of distractions not keeping their commitments leading to a lack of trust!! 90% of text or chat messages received are read within three minutes while most people spend 3.1 hours per day on email. The distraction, however, is not the text, email, phone, or refrigerator. That is how you fill up your time when you are distracted. The real distraction is your boredom, hating what you do, fear of failure, overwhelm, and doing what does not matter. It is important to understand how you are spending your time and why. In what ways are your overcommitments distracting you? All of this can put knots in your stomach, cause shallow breathing, headaches, rise in blood pressure, etc. Notice your body’s reaction to stress and overwhelm this week. You will feel it in your body before you intellectualize it. Jot down your experience, understand it

and act.


If you are not careful, over-committing, fear of saying no, not renegotiating your commitments, committing to what does not matter, and allowing the distractions will result in many disappointments: lost relationships, time, and money, lower work quality, reduced efforts, limited creativity, or an inability to differentiate what is important. If you are a leader of an organization or team, understand the culture of overcommitment and its impact on employees and business results. According to Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace, 85% of employees are not engaged in the workplace.


Accelerated and sustained personal, professional, or business growth will not survive this environment. To avoid overcommitting, your overarching commitment “must” be to yourself and what matters for your life, business, or career. Not what other people want or need from you! It does not mean that you should not help or consider others. It is difficult not to help others because most people have a:


1) desire to be helpful, accommodating, and polite,

2) tendency to fix problems, even when not their own,

3) unclear limit or rule about what tasks to accept or reject,

4) non-negotiable demands put on them, and/or 5) do not renegotiate commitments. This results in you continually carrying all these commitments like boulders up a hill never knowing how much further you must climb. You are in control of your life. Take control and:


• Decide that YOU MATTER! It is ok. Manage the fear and guilt!

• Be clear about what you want and align everything else around it.

• Be present with yourself to know when you are out of alignment and act.

• Manage your self-imposed pressure to say YES to everything. It is ok to say NO.

• Get better organized. Get rid of the clutter (mental and physical).

• Renegotiate even when you have committed.

• Manage your boulders: Keep, drop, and stop seeking them before you get crushed.

• Take a break.

• Move your body.

• Power off your devices to focus and sleep.


Steve Maraboli, said “Set the standard! You need to stop expecting others to show you love, commitment, respect, and acceptance when you do not even show that for yourself.”


“When you say yes to others be sure you are not saying no to yourself.”


Written by: Gladys Agwai


As featured in:



18 views0 comments