Stop canceling on events last minute
about the destructive effect of not being committed
I have a new realization to share with you and it is coming across on so many different levels in my life right now: we are less committed.
We say yes to dates and events only to end up not going. We read our social media feed only to find that reading is no longer the right word – we casually notice it while our finger is already scrolling on to the next post without us noticing. I notice this behavior in myself as well as in my clients and in conversations with my colleagues. Over 30 women signed up for my last (free) Global Coffee Date. 6 showed up. Of course, it was a nice event. We talked and laughed a lot and also shared a concern or two. But I wonder what happened to the other 24 people. And to answer the question I only have to look in the mirror. I too had signed up for 3 events last week. One was canceled and secretly I was very happy about it. The other two were just inappropriate in terms of time. It was dinner time and we were at the grandparent’s. So I went AWOL and didn’t attend. I wasn’t even sorry at that moment. I was interested in the topic and hoped there would be a recording of the conversation but I didn’t think about what effect my behavior might have on the host. In my mind, the room is full of interested listeners and whether I participate or not should make no difference.
The thing is, everyone is thinking that way right now. I notice it myself at my events. And this is not only frustrating as a host who invests a lot of effort and time in the organization, but also for us as interested non-participants.
The pandemic has made non-attendance socially acceptable
For the past two years, the world has not been the same as we knew it. Plans are thrown out of the window and as soon as you feel you have regained control over your time, another child is sick, the daycare is closed, a family event needs attention, a trip has been canceled, and so on. And just in the last week, we all had to learn that these uncertain times do not end with the pandemic but seamlessly transition into the feeling of fear and shock by a war (!) within Europe.
So we have learned to reschedule or cancel plans on a regular basis. It’s suddenly no longer rude not to show up, and given what’s going on in the world right now, the need to withdraw inwardly and focus on what’s important is only too understandable.
The effect of not committing any longer
So I understand all too well why we are so little committed. But what concerns me is the question of what this does to us. Through my training and work as a coach, I know the high value of experienced commitments to plans. When we set small goals and stick to them, our brain learns that it can trust ourselves and our intuition. We learn thanks to our own actions that we have supremacy over our actions.
When you are committed to spending time with your children and you end up spending 100 hours a week at work, then there is evidence you are only “trying” vs. committing to spending time with your family. When you are committed to practicing self-care and prioritizing your needs but in the short downtime before going to bed you are just scrolling through your phone without paying attention there is evidence you are only trying. And by doing so every night you are showing yourself that this is ok to do so.
If we are only”trying” to commit to ourselves then we are not living in awareness. Trying is when we keep a small percentage available to us for failure so we feel ok when it happens. However, this means we are committing to failure rather than success.
If you feel and know that the path forward is the right one then you can more easily and fully commit to it. Any percentage allocated to failure means you are still uncertain and there is doubt and doubt will become the focus – seeking reasons to doubt along the way leading to further doubt.
Sticking to our plans is the key to self-trust
In the smallest everyday actions, by being accountable to ourselves and keeping our word, we build our self-trust. By sticking to our plans we tell our brain “hey, I am taking this serious”. While this all might make sense to you the world around us is no feel well bubble. There might be more important things to do right now than attending just another webinar. My approach to this:
quality over quantity. I will carefully select the conversations and events I am planning to have and re-install the habit of showing up. Even if that is dinner time and even if I am not feeling up for it. With the world spinning in that intensity, I will not keep up with the same amount of conversations but I will carefully curate my commitments. I invite you to do reflect on your own behavior. How committed are you feeling these days and what is your priority in life right now? Observe your actions and see for yourself whether these actions (or missing actions) are aligned with these priorities.
I am doing career coaching for a living so I can state that you do not need a war or a pandemic as an excuse to put your career plans on hold. I see it all the time when mothers are caring for their families first and putting their own goals last. And at this moment this seems the obvious thing to do but looking back years from now you wished you had started somewhere.
So if you want to start committing again, I invite you to our next global coffee date. It will take place on March 10th at 10 am CET (Berlin time). I made sign-up very easy and even will send out a reminder email one day prior to the event. If social interaction with other women with a global background is something that interests you I will be honored to have you. If that is no priority in your life right now please do not sign-up. Your time is precious and your energy for the day is limited. I am offering this space because I am able to and because it is a beautiful way to bring a smile to faces around the globe. And that is something I will always feel committed to.