The Road To Hell Is Paved With. . .

The Road To Hell Is Paved With. . .

The road to hell is paved with good intentions — right???

Have you noticed that there hasn’t been a blog post for over a month? Hmm. . . me neither apparently.

I honestly believe we have a pact you and I, I produce a thoughtful, hopefully entertaining blog posts every 3 weeks and you read it when you have time. So when I realized I broke my end of the deal, I felt a bit ashamed.

I bet it’s happened to you too. You have all the best intentions to live up to every promise you make, but then push comes to shove — your dog needs emergency surgery, your kid gets the stomach flu, or an urgent project at work suddenly becomes your responsibility and everything else falls to the side. We’ve all been there. . . .

So why do we feel so guilty when it happens to us?

I often find with myself that there’s a disconnect between what is potentially doable and what is realistically doable. And by that I mean – in a perfect world, where nothing unexpected happens, I’m sure I would have gotten the blog posted. And you would have gotten to all your to-dos as well. However in the real world, where the unexpected is always happening and catching us off-guard, we have a tendency to over-promise.

Which leads me to ask:

“Why do we over-promise when we know the unexpected will always happen?”

  • Is it optimism?
  • Not wanting to disappoint others by saying no?
  • Poor judgment?
  • All of the above?

I honestly can’t say. I don’t think there is only one reason although at any given time, any one of these explanations might perfectly fit the bill.

So what’s a chronic over-committer to do?

I turned this issue over with my good friend recently via text (apparently how busy modern friends communicate these days). I was pondering how it is that I seem to fall victim to many of the same issues that plague my clients, and that I regularly coach them on (with much success I might add!)

One of the conclusions we came to is it’s not just about whether you trip up (because we all do), but how gently you can right yourself and get back on your chosen path.

So I wanted to model this for you today – I’m righting myself, and honoring my commitment to you by posting this blog. And I’m being gentle too.

So my question to you is: where have you slipped up, messed up, or downright “screwed up” recently? What’s one small thing you can do to delicately begin to make amends?

Comment below right now – not only will it keep you accountable but it’s a great first step to beginning to right yourself. And I promise not to judge!

If you need some suggestions: here’s a few possible first steps

  • Write an apology note/email
  • Give people a revised date for completion (and pad it for the unexpected)
  • Ask them what could “make it right” for them
  • Forgive yourself

Jo Ilfeld, PhD

An executive leadership coach, Jo helps C-suite leaders, executives, and high-potential managers develop the flexibility, skill, and frame of mind to meet the challenges of the next five, ten, twenty years…. and beyond. She works with individuals, teams and organizations on four core areas of leadership development. Check out Jo's bio page for more information.

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