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“I don’t have a commitment problem, I have a walking away problem…”

A client read my piece on the power of commitment

She wrote to me: Rich, I don’t have a commitment problem, I have a walking away problem. I’m bad at leaving relationships, not staying in them. This is why I burn out and why I am hesitant to take on anything new. 

You’ve stopped doing programs before. How did you know when it was time?

There’s nothing more important than keeping a commitment. There’s also nothing more important than ending a commitment that’s no longer right for you. The truth is you’ll never know which is the correct decision. Which means the only important thing is that you decide, move on and don’t look back.

There are 4 things that help me decide when to commit and when to quit:

  1. Energy Audit
  2. Tolerations
  3. Gut check
  4. Burdens

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1. Energy Audit

I have a CFO on my team. A Chief Freedom Officer. She helps me do an Energy Audit every single month. Her entire focus is to help free up more energy and time for fun, family and freedom in my life.  

Ask yourself:

a) What people, activities, commitments, thoughts, and habits are draining me of energy?

(b) What people, activities, commitments, thoughts, and habits are energizing me?

(c) Take one single thing that’s draining you and look into every single way you can remove it from your life. Or even turn it from a drainer into an energizer.

2. Tolerations

Every month, I ask myself: What are you tolerating? 

I hate this question!

It points to the tiny energy-sucks and energy-leaks in my life and business. It’s often people-related. And it’s very uncomfortable to look at. 

Ask yourself:

a) What people, activities, or commitments are you tolerating? 

b) What were you once committed to, but – if you didn’t need to apologize, or feel embarrassed, and if no one was hurt by your actions – you’d love to stop immediately?

3. Gut check

My team and I do what we call a gut check before and after any big or important decision. 

I’ve taught them that when something goes wrong, the very worst words for an entrepreneur to hear from a team member are, “I had a feeling about that…”

So we regularly look for red flags – signs or clues that we’ve made a poor decision, or that this is the wrong thing to do. 

I’ve trained my team to listen to their intuition and to pay attention when even the smallest hair on the back of their neck is standing up. 

Ask yourself:

a) What does your gut intuition tell you about this?

b) What tiny red flags are you not paying attention to? 

c) What decisions were once great but (as uncomfortable as it may be to admit) are now no longer a good decision?

In the featured photo for this article, I am about to begin a fitness assessment with a new trainer. I was determined not to quit until I had nothing left to give. 

4. Burdens

My name is Rich Litvin and I’m a recovering people-pleaser. I love helping people. I love solving problems. And I pay a price for this.

My default is to jump into supporting people, or to saying yes to most requests. But I know a deeper truth at this stage of my life:

What got me to this level of success was saying yes to almost every opportunity. What will get me to my next level of success is saying no to almost every opportunity.

Saying yes immediately almost always has a massive (but invisible) cost that I will have to pay down the road.  

Most leaders and entrepreneurs are over-obligated and under-committed. They have a huge list of things they once said yes to that have shifted from being a commitment to a burden.

Since my default response is so often Hell Yes, I’ve asked my amazing assistant to make her default response to any requests of me a Hell No! This balances out my commitments and I can always say yes later, if I choose to. 

I have found the following words invaluable, “Thank you for the invitation but I’m a gracious no at this time.” No explanation needed. 

Ask yourself:

a) Is it time in my life to make Hell No my default response?

b) What was once a commitment but is now a burden?

Do you feel guilty?

My client asked me one more question: When you quit something, do you feel guilt for abandoning people who may have counted on you?

When I have a choice between guilt or obligation, I take guilt every time…

I’d rather feel guilty about saying no to someone than have a sense of obligation, or feel that they are a burden. And ultimately no one wants to feel that they are a burden. 

Love. Rich

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