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Overcommitted? Tips for getting out from under

By Molly Gordon

Coaching helps you make and keep the commitments that matter: to yourself, your family, your work, your community. Sometimes this means evaluating existing obligations and letting go of those that don't suit you anymore. The following suggestions are designed to guide you through a healthy evaluation of your volunteer commitments.

Start by asking yourself why you volunteered in the first place. Common reasons include sharing good fortune, making friends, learning new skills, working through grief or loss, or promoting values and programs you hold dear. Sometimes we volunteer because we want to please a friend or colleague; sometimes we just don't know how to say "no."

Next, ask yourself why you continue to do the work. Are your original reasons till valid? Does the work build your confidence and self esteem? Are you afraid of what people will say or how they will feel if you stop?

Get clear about how much time and effort you are putting into your volunteer work. If necessary, keep a log for a couple of weeks. Jot down the phone calls, meetings, mailings, whatever, along with how much time you spend at each. If your commitments are costing your money, make a note of how much.

Assess your resources. List the activities that need to come first. These include caring for your own health, leisure, and personal development; caring for and spending quality time with your children and partner; and being fully present and productive at work. How much time is left for volunteering?

Once you've answered these questions, decide whether the costs in terms of time and money are worth results. Be honest about how much time you have to spare. The answers will make clear which commitments you ought to let go of. The next step is to announce your decision.

When it comes to reducing or withdrawing your involvement, remember that everything changes. The best exit line I know starts, "Things have changed recently in my personal life and business and I can no longer." This statement doesn't blame anyone or anything, nor does it undercut your original motives. It simply but emphatically lays the ground work for you to withdraw gracefully.

Molly Gordon is a certified personal and business coach. Visit her website at http://www.coachladybug.com for more articles and tools to use in building business and personal success.


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Molly Gordon, Professional Personal Coach
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206-842-1619 fax: 206-780-3357

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Tags: Wisdom and Life Skills



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