Your Competing Commitments are Keeping You Stuck

And Stuck Isn't a Fun Place to Be

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres on our open platform. We publish pieces as written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team and must meet our guidelines prior to being published.

The other day, I met with one of my private clients and the first thing she said to me was, “I haven’t done any of the exercises that you suggested because I had other things to do.”

As a result, we started our coaching session exploring the vocabulary of “have to,” “should,” and “need.” These words, though small, tend to result in immediately resistance within us because they strip away our need for freedom and choice. (And, when we use them with others, we are also stripping away their need for freedom and choice…)

We also explored the concept of hidden commitments, and it is this concept that I want to share with you today.

Have you ever set a goal or made a commitment to yourself, and then didn’t follow through on it? 

I know that I do it quite often.

The reason for the lack of follow through is that I have a hidden commitment lurking in the background, despite my openly declared commitment.

Here are some examples:

>> I am openly committed to growing my business, and at the same time I am committed to NOT FAILING, so I often don’t act for fear that it won’t turn out the way I want it to, and I will have “failed.”

>> I am openly committed to helping and supporting others, and at the same time I have a hidden commitment to feel worthy, so I often insert myself into situations in a false attempt to help, when it isn’t about them at all, and is all about ME and my EGO.

>> I am committed to growing and learning, and at the same time I am committed to being strong and independent, so I often remain silent instead of asking for help, which could be perceived as weak or needy.

As I introduced this concept to my client, I asked her to reflect on what hidden commitments are lurking in the background that are preventing her from following through on her declared commitment to work through her conflict. (I believe that she has a hidden commitment to keep the external peace, even though internally she is anything but peaceful.)

What about you? Do you have any competing commitments that are keeping you stuck?

>> Maybe you have a hidden commitment to be safe and comfortable, so you don’t take risks that might truly engage you, or push you to grow in new ways.

>> Maybe you have a hidden commitment to being significant and important in your boss’s or colleague’s eyes, so you work way harder than anyone else at the office, only it is putting your needs, and possibly your family’s needs, second.

>> Maybe you have a hidden commitment to keep the peace (like my client), so you never speak your mind or disagree with those around you, allowing others to decide for you.

>> Maybe you have a hidden commitment to prove yourself and your worth as a financial earner or contributor, so you are staying in a job that is both unfulfilling and stressful.

This leads to my second question. 

How can you honor both commitments, so that you can continue to reach your objectives and grow?

Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

You might also like...


The Principle of “Just Cuz”

by Steven C. Hayes
Courtesy of Tirachard Kumtanom / Shutterstock

Becoming More Deeply Committed to My Commitments

by Leo Babauta

Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

Thrive Global
People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.


We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.