I got some great advice and commentary on my last post about the accidental commitment. In case you don't read the comments and trackbacks, here's how I'd roll them all up:
- Own your commitments and only make promises you can keep;
- Once you make the commitment, keep your word by following through and delivering;
- If you realize you've screwed up by making a commitment you shouldn't have made, come clean right away and do something to renegotiate or cancel the commitment.
- Don't feel guilty, as we all make mistakes. It's what we do about the mistakes that makes us who we are.
It all came crashing together when a friend of mine reminded me that I had the answers all along, and I've even blogged on them. Which, of course, means I wasn't using the skills I already have very effectively - gee, ever done that before?
Develop the habit of taking a moment to think before committing, and then putting yourself in a position to own the commitment. When you make a mistake, analyze it and take steps to keep it from happening again. That is a lot like what I talked about in "Pretend you create everything that happens to you."
When you find yourself in the midst of an accidental commitment, you need to fix it by "Taking responsibility for your own well being."
It's hard to argue with your own advice. And sometimes, it's even harder to take that advice.
Rosa hits the nail on the head in her response, "Let's be honest":
"...what compounds the situation is that we don't admit to making the mistake as soon as we catch it. Instead, we let it play out the best that we can manage, and the person we made the commitment to is likely to get a mediocre result. We disappoint ourselves in the process too, because we know we are capable of better.
"As usual, honesty is the best policy, and the sooner the better. It is so much easier to deal with truthfulness that is out in the open versus those hidden lies of omission."
Sincere thanks to everyone who chimed in on this one!