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Running Out of Time Pt 1: Before You Ask, the Answer is NO

 Yep, you read it correctly. Nothing personal.

The Trap

You are a go-to person.  You get things done.  It’s a great feeling when someone prides your work enough that they want you on their team. I mean who really wants to say no to a good thing or project?  Especially when it is your boss or a good friend–you don’t want to let them or their team down.

You want to say no but feel bad–so you don’t.  They see your contemplation and look at you with those eyes:  I need you.  You have the magic touch.  We are like Shaq and Kobe back in the day–we do damage.

Some may go for the jugular and travel the deep and spiritual route: Sow a seed.  Be faithful in little and he will make you make you faithful in much.

Now you feel selfish.  You are going to hell in a kerosene suit with a propane tank. So you do it.  You say YES loudly to your own hurt. Now you’re stuck and over-committed again…and have the nerve to get mad at THEM. Your projects, goals and dreams continue to collect dust.  You’ll get to it one day…after you finish everyone elses stuff.

That my dear is called a competing commitment.  A competing commitment is when you say or know you should do something but your actions say otherwise. A recent post by Val Wilcox explores competing commitments a bit further.

Been there, done that

Around October of last year, I began making a series of bold and dramatic changes in my life. This sequence of events stemmed from a series of trainings that I attended with Klemmer & Associates over the course of 2011.  The trainings center around a book, The Compassionate Samurai, which teaches how exercising 10 basic characteristics (including competing commitments) can get things done in a big way without losing your integrity.

Towards the end of last year, I put everyone on notice: I will not be spearheading or playing any major part in anyone’s project in 2012. I would support events by being an attendee or assisting on the day of the event. That’s it.  No committees. No conference calls. Notta.

This took a number of people off guard, especially being the cautionary and predictable person that I am. As each decision was made, some of the people in the groups that I was associated with asked me “How did you just do that?” I looked with boldness and said “If I die tomorrow, somehow it will get done. So, I just did it.  And I have peace about it. We can still do lunch.”

There was no magic just a spirit of determination to make a swift decision and stick to it.  Nine months later, I look back and these decisions were the best ones that I could have made.  I have so many goals and dreams that have been wasting away while I help everyone else achieve theirs.  Don’t get me wrong there’s nothing wrong with that; we should help people.  But at some point, it’s time to handle your own business and stop watching time pass.  We lose so much time and cannot get it back.  Time is one of our greatest commodities!

Recently, Oprah Winfrey showcased Bishop T.D. Jakes on Oprah Winfrey’s Soul Sunday on the OWN Network. Bishop Jakes has a thought-provoking conversation on the importance on how to use time effectively and why it’s so important. Take a listen:


If you are doing anything that someone else in your life could do, you are not preserving yourself for your highest and best use.  – Bishop T.D. Jakes

Next Steps

You should now be motivated to take some action! It’s time to tell some people and things you love…NO in an understanding, clear and direct manner. Will that mean they will be mad? Most likely. If they are your real friends they will understand. Be prepared if they’re not.  At a later date, be prepared to tell them no for the same thing again.

Stop listening to other people who pump up your gifts when the grace has lifted.  They are telling the truth–your gift is great, but maybe the season for that gift has lifted permanently or for a season.  You know the grace has lifted on a gift when you no longer have the passion and enthusiasm that you once had with it and it now is a chore or a burden.  It’s delaying your destiny.

Find out your competing commitments.  I know mine and that is how I now have time to create these posts every week!

Let’s Keep Going

It’s exciting to have you on this journey with me!  Stay turned for part two of the series–Time To Call an Audible coming next week!


In the meantime, let’s have a discussion regarding the points expressed in this post.  What stuck out to you?  Where have you struggled?  Where have you gained victory? Post your comments now and we can begin!



Permanent link to this article: http://www.keepitmovingblog.com/2012/07/16/running-out-of-time-pt-1-before-you-ask-the-answer-is-no/


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  1. Dawn Ward

    Good message, something I needed to hear. Yes I feel guilty for saying no, but I also hate feeling overwhelmed. Something had to give, so I will take your advice for the rest of this year. Then I will reflect at the end of this year.

    1. Nichole Renee

      Thanks Dawn. I can’t tell you how many times I got caught in that trap. It just wears you out. I’ve been having a really great year, getting a lot of things done (especially in this summer down time) and look forward to seeing the fruit next year–or maybe before!

  2. LeaNora Ruffin

    Thanks for the great message Nichole! A good reminder for busy professionals. It is way too easy to get stuck pulling off somebody else’s dream to the detriment of your own. I pray I stay focused on my own goals and keep pressing FORWARD!

    1. Nichole Renee

      Leanora you ain’t never lied! I can’t tell you the number of times and the number of projects that pull me in. I am type, once I’m in, I am gung ho. I am glad that this was helpful to you. This advice that folks have given to me over the years and it took me a while to get it. Now I got it and I’m getting it, lol! Thanks for commenting. It means a lot. Make sure you subscribe to stay plugged in for Part 2 next Monday!

  3. Shawn Claybrooks

    Nichole, Nichole, Nichole,
    Awesome article, very powerful information shared, spoke to my heart to continue to be led in all of my volunteer endeavors. Awesome, awesome, awesome!!!!! Keep sharing from your heart, they are truly inspirational!!!!!

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