Solution Saturday: Praise for Over-commitment
I told George, “A life that matters is lived in service to others. The more you serve – the more you matter.”
George, being a thoughtful young leader, began talking about over-commitment and exhaustion. If the more you serve – the more you matter is true, over-commitment and exhaustion seem inevitable.
Cycles of Over-commitment:
Successful leaders regularly move in and out of over-commitment. Serving successfully brings opportunities that eventually exceed time, energy, and ability.
Over-commitment is inevitable for those committed to service.
Solve over-commitment; don’t prevent it. I hate seeing young leaders working to maintain balance before they experience being out of balance. It feels limiting, weak, indulgent, even self-coddling.
Don’t tell me you need “me” time until you’ve worked up a sweat.
Push limits before setting limits. You never know your potential until you get in over your head.
Your future is determined by how you deal with over-commitment.
Live for yourself, just don’t do it selfishly. I write Leadership Freak for me and then I give it away. Acts of selfish service enriches you and others.
Serve to find yourself, not lose yourself. You have to have something to lose before you can lose yourself in something. Explore and embrace your values, aspirations, and opportunities.
Avoid subservience. People who expect subservience degrade themselves. People who submit to subservience demean themselves.
- Find your limitations by pushing your limits.
- Pour in more than you pour out. Serving isn’t burning yourself out for others. Feed yourself as you feed others, for example. Burning-out is self-limiting.
- Embrace the fueling power of pouring out. Serve in ways that give you energy. You pour into yourself when you enjoy pouring out.
- Develop yourself to maximize your impact. Personal growth is more important than professional goals.
- Use values to set boundaries.
How have cycles of over-commitment been part of your leadership journey?
How are you navigating the natural inclination of leaders to become over-committed?
LOVE this one. Rings very true for me.
Sent from my iPhone
Thanks Tim. Cycles of over-commitment have been the story of my life.
The statement “you never know your limits till you are over your head” is very concerning to me. I have worked in emergency service all of my adult life. We can’t afford to be over our head, we are trained to set new limits but pushing ourselves but to never allow yourself to be out of control. Now as a supervisor in a busy dispatch center, I see burnout all the time. As a leader you need to be able to spot burnout before it reaches a unrecoverable state. I so relate to so much of the rest.
Thanks Walter. I’m glad you shared your insights and concern. Don’t allow yourself to be out of control, especially when it comes to the physical world, makes sense to me.
Plus, pushing limits is definitely risky.
Remember solutions exist! Delegate as needed. Seek your strength and draw on your knowledge, you will overcome. Believe in yourself and your team, your there to create solutions and perform the tasks.
The best solution is to be aware that you are running on fumes. I have found that journaling is an essential task to recognize it.
I just returned from a week long course on Duty to Accommodate. One of our duties is to take care ourselves in order to be of service to others and remember to reach out to others that can be of service to me. Thank you for freaking us out.
How in the world can you know your capabilities and what you need to improve or add in terms of knowledge and/or skills if you don’t seek to to challenge yourself???
This is the constraint one feels in his life while taking decisions but tackling over commitments is as difficult as taking decisions
Interesting Dan. It reminds me of the roundabout on the playground. We crave the excitement and the forces that we are exposed to and it takes a lot of strength and endurance to hold on. However, depending on the time and intensity, we are sooner or later doomed and succumb to the forces. Simply because, we tire and lose our strength. Knowing our limits is sometimes a bit of of mystery until we try. I think we have to actually fall-off to find them. If nothing else, it sure is worth the ride!
Thank you Sir. I have been attempting to find the balance of extra effort on medium term projects vs long term sustainability. I am encouraged.
Brilliant insights, Dan. Thank you! Robert Greenleaf wrote about sacrifice of selfish interests, but many people read that and only think sacrifice. Servant leadership however is surrender to the why before it is sacrifice of the what. The what may bring us to our edge but the why takes us beyond.