Let’s be honest.

Dwayne Melancon shares a good observation with us today on Genuine Curiosity that he calls “The accidental commitment.”

“I’ve been involved in a number of situations recently (in fact, I am responsible for creating some of them) in which commitments were made or implied out of politeness. Being polite is a good thing, of course, but politely taking on a commitment you really shouldn’t have made brings trouble.”

I encourage you to read the rest of his post: click in to The accidental commitment.

I’m certain that you’ll have a reaction similar to mine: been there!

Dwayne talks about something many of us do, and what compounds the situation is that we don’t admit to making the mistake as soon as we catch it. Instead, we let it play out the best that we can manage, and the person we made the commitment to is likely to get a mediocre result. We disappoint ourselves in the process too, because we know we are capable of better.

As usual, honesty is the best policy, and the sooner the better. It is so much easier to deal with truthfulness that is out in the open versus those hidden lies of omission.

Great post today Dwayne, mahalo for sharing your thoughts.

5/18 update: Dwayne wrote a good recap on this after his post stimulated some commentary. Be sure you also read his follow-up at It’s always about you isn’t it?


  1. says

    In my coaching, I often see people who overcommit in the way you and Dwayne describe. I find it never occurs to them that, once committed, they absolutely can change their minds and remove themselves from the commitment.
    In my view, the key is in saying the truth as soon as it’s known. There’s no shame in saying, “I know I said I would do ______ (chair the XYZ event, host the soccer team’s sleepover, volunteer in the school library twice each week) but I’ve realized I’m overcommitted, and I won’t be able to do it.”
    As you pointed out, it’s far better to do that than to create a mediocre result. I think it’s also better to get out of a commitment than to suffer–which always happens when someone does something out of obligation but without joy, or being truly engaged.
    I heartily endorse the practice of getting out of anything a person “should” do that isn’t necessary to feed, clothe, nourish, or support him/her. I believe that every time someone does something out of that misplaced sense of obligation, s/he loses a little bit of him/herself.
    Life’s far too short for us to be doing that. Life’s also far too short for us to care more about what “others” think of us than we care about what we think of ourselves.
    In this crazy, messy world we’re in, self-care must come first. If we’re to give to anyone else, we have to be sure we’ve first handled our well-placed obligations to ourselves.

  2. says

    Good words Stacy – great coaching!
    In MWA language, Malama – take care of yourself.
    Self care is truly a gift we must learn to give ourselves, for it translates to a much enhanced capacity to then be better in our relationships with others. I often think of that part of the airline video, where you are instructed to put on your own oxygen mask before you attempt to get one on your child.
    Thank you so much for your sharing Stacy.