Being Committed, Being Interested, And The Curious Paradox About Where Our Greatness Lies

by Sarah McVanel, Chief Recognition Officer, Greatness Magnified

We often get caught up in feeling that we’re not enough – not doing enough, not kind enough, not a good enough mom, employee, boss, etc. However, we may be missing all of the examples where we take our effort and impact for granted.

This can sound rather trite, so let me give you an example. My colleague Sandeep Aujla, is a change expert. One of her brilliant insights about change is that there is a difference between committed and interested.

For example, her cousin is a bodybuilder. He is committed. He will drive to the next town to work out if his local gym is closed. Sandeep is interested in fitness. I am interested in fitness. We like the idea of lifting weights every day, and even when we are on a roll, it may only be for five minutes a day. Also, 3lb weights do not make a bodybuilder! (And there’s no chance I will get in my car and drive to a gym, let alone one in the town over!) We are not bodybuilders. We’re not committed enough. However, we do not need to be. We don’t actually want it.

Do you know what we are? Readers. We read every day. We read everything. Our life feels like we are missing something when we don’t have multiple books on the go. We buy books, borrow books, talk about books, and I even have an Instagram page sharing my favourite books. We are committed to reading, writing, and learning. I’m not sure if her cousin is or if he even wants to be. We are readers, not bodybuilders, and you can tell by our level of commitment.

There is nothing right or wrong about being a bodybuilder over a reader, or a reader over a bodybuilder. We can’t be committed to everything. It’s important to be committed to the things that matter to you.

Commitment Check In

image of a check list and a pen sitting on the paperSo, what are you committed to? What do you do, and who are you, even if it is no longer intentional? Ironically, that is one of the signs of being committed. You do it so consistently without needing to remember to do it.

Step 1: Start a “I’m committed” list. What are you interested in?

Step 2: Create an “I’m Interested” list.

Now, put a star beside any that matters so much to you that being more committed would be worth the effort to figure out how to do it and to make it happen.

Step 3: Place a star beside what matters most on both lists.

Audition things off the list of needing ever to be committed to it. If it doesn’t have a star, do you need to reduce your time on it? Can you permit yourself not to feel the need to prioritize it?

Step 4: Refine your list.

Maybe you will never need to be 20 pounds less, or the president of your professional association, or have your kids run into your arms every day kissing you all over your face to validate you are a great parent, or run Coca-Cola one day. Maybe you do, and you need to double down on commitments to get there. I’m guessing there’s a lot more you are interested in vs. committed and this may be the release of pressure to feel you “should” be prioritizing it higher.

What do you desperately need and want? And what is a nice idea in theory, but you don’t actually want it that much?

Self-Recognition Commitment

Now that you’ve had your “ah-ha” moment and possibly a “yeah, I knew that” moment, here’s how to let that sink in. Here’s how you value yourself without conditions and possibly arm yourself from the external push of what others in your life, your career, and even society think you should be committed to but you just frankly aren’t!

  1. Acknowledge what you are committed to. Start from what is already working.
  2. Permit yourself to let go of the things you don’t need to be committed to. You’re not committed for a reason, and you don’t have to justify that to anyone (including yourself!)
  3. Identify anything that you really feel you need to be committed to that you’re not 100% there. Re-commit.
  4. Identify the ONE next action toward it and celebrate the step toward it (vs. the outcome that may be way in the future).

image of a permission form with a pen on the paperAs the song goes, “You can’t always get what you want. “ However, as I hopefully have illustrated here with Sandeep’s inspired example, you may not actually truly want the things that you haven’t got. Can you let those things go? Can you honour that it is not important enough to be committed to all the required effort and energy? And, can you acknowledge that, in many ways, you have got all that you want?

You are not lacking commitment. You might be lacking permission to let go of all the options of things you could be committed to. So here’s your permission slip. You officially have a confidence hall pass.

Hey, Committed, it’s nice to meet you.

Here are more ideas to inspire your commitment to self-recognition:

“There is more hunger for love and appreciation in this world than for bread.”

– Mother Teresa

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Organizational Development, Purolator Inc.

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