Inspirational Leaders Know How To Commit

Don't Take On More Than You Can Do, And Do Well The holidays are coming, and for many people, it's the most inspiring time of the year. That's certainly the case for me, and for many of my clients who are seeking to ramp-up their inspirational leadership. So this is a bit of a warning to those high-achievers among you: as the old saying goes, don't bite off more than you can chew this fall.

Over the years, the overwhelming majority of my clients have been extremely busy, achievement-oriented folks. They're the ones you hear people say this about: "I don't know how she does it all!" They're the folks who don't think it's enough just to own and run a business... they also want to do volunteer work at holiday time. They're the consultants who have 90-hour-per-week jobs but still want to find time to sing in their church choirs or run the community's fall bazaar. And half the time, you'll hear these busy people say they're also launching a new diet or exercise plan at the same time!

There's a popular adage among the consultants I've counseled over the years, too: "Nobody in our firm ever got into trouble for saying no... but plenty of people have gotten into plenty of trouble for saying yes." Funny, lazy people may complain that they have too much to do, but they never have a fraction of the projects going that you'll find on the plate of your average achiever. And those Type-A folks always think they can take on one more project.

My advice to emerging leaders, especially those who want to inspire their teams, is to watch the over-commitment tendency. The best inspirational leaders know how to commit. They take on extra stuff, sure, but they make sure they can do the things they take on and do them well, to their unwaveringly high personal standards.

At least two very-bad things can happen when you over-commit this season. First, not only will you fail to inspire your troops when you drop the ball (or come up short of your lofty initial aspirations), you run a big risk of shaking their faith in you, their leader. It can demotivate them... just the opposite of your good intent. Second, you'll drain the joy and inspiration out of the season for yourself! The unnecessary stress and anxiety you might give yourself can make it hard to keep your personal vitality and energy... they might even give you health problems.

So think about how you want to be celebrating your accomplishments at the end of the year. Wouldn't it be better to have made fewer commitments, and to have ensured outstanding performance on the things you did take on? Won't you be happy you chose quality over quantity, and that you were selective enough to dive into no more than the key project-or-two that will really make your season bright?

I learned something several years ago: just because you can do something (or MANY things) doesn't mean you should. And if you really want to be a great inspirational leader, you learn how to appropriately make and keep your commitments. "No" becomes as valuable a word in your vocabulary as "yes."


Michael Hume is a speaker, writer, and consultant specializing in helping people maximize their potential and enjoy inspiring lives. As Founding Consultant of Agents of Personal Change (APC), LLC, he coaches executives and leaders in growing their personal sense of well-being through wealth creation and management, along with personal vitality. Those with an entrepreneurial spirit who want to make money "one less thing to worry about" can learn more about working with Michael...

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