A number of years ago I listened to a pastor in a Chicago state that most of the people he knew were overwhelmed and over committed. I thought to myself that he knows some of the same people I know, because most of the people (and leaders)  I know and coach are admittedly overwhelmed and over committed. What’s a leader to do? Dan Rockwell shares how to overcome the danger of over commitment.

Originally posted by Dan Rockwell

I have the ability to improve something until it stops working.

I reconnected with journaling last November. But I did it differently and it worked. I committed to record ONE point of gratitude on a notepad for 30 days. No fancy journals and no long-term commitments. Just a free notepad from our insurance company and a pen.

The danger of addition:

I’m still journaling. But I’m dangerously close to turning joyful simplicity into over commitment.

Sometimes the secret to success is subtraction, but most prefer addition.

My gratitude journal began simply. Somehow I fell into the trap that ambushes leaders I work with – adding improvements until joy becomes burden.

This morning I recorded one point of gratitude. I should have stopped there, but I’m a high achiever!

After a point of gratitude. I recorded an intention for the day. But there’s more.

I also recorded a positive memory. Then I chose to send an encouraging email to someone. And by the way, I also added a short journaling practice at the end of the day. I can’t leave good enough alone.

Some mornings I explore why I’m thankful.

The joy of subtraction:

I’m going back to one simple commitment: record one point of gratitude every morning. Optional activities might include:

  1. Reflect on a positive memory.
  2. Reflect on the reason for my gratitude. (Purpose)
  3. Set an intention for the day.

Questions restore control:

After recording a single point of gratitude, I’ll ask myself some questions.

  1. Would you like to spend time reflecting on a positive memory?
  2. Would you like to reflect on the reason you’re thankful?
  3. Would you like to set an intention for the day?

Some mornings I’ll journal a few lines. Other mornings I’ll journal a few pages. It’s my choice.

One commitment with several options protects me from over commitment and enables me to control the practice instead of the practice controlling me.

What dangers might be present in over-improvement?

How might leaders be content without being complacent?