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.

push limits before setting limits.png

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.

Selfish service:

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.

Navigating over-commitment:

  1. Find your limitations by pushing your limits.
  2. 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.
  3. Embrace the fueling power of pouring out. Serve in ways that give you energy. You pour into yourself when you enjoy pouring out. 
  4. Develop yourself to maximize your impact. Personal growth is more important than professional goals.
  5. 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?