I Changed My Mind – How Can I Back Out of a Commitment?
We received an e-mail from Joe who recently agreed to serve on a committee of a local non-profit organization. He’s discovered that it’s a bigger commitment than he thought. So he wants to know what he should do to get out of it.
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You obviously had good intentions, Joe. Sometimes our circumstances change – health issues, new responsibilities, extra care for loved ones, or any number of things. Since there’s no mention of that in your e-mail, we’ll assume that it’s not the case here.
5 options to reduce your responsibility to this commitment
#1 – Quit
This is the most cut-and-dry way to do it. However, keep in mind that it may damage your reputation. That’s why we don’t think it’s a very good option.
#2 – Fulfill your commitment
We think your best option is to suck it up and honor your commitment. Then don’t recommit at the end of your term. You’ll deliver on your promise. Your reputation will remain intact. Learn from this experience so you don’t repeat it.
#3 – Find someone to replace you
We think this is your next best option. If you know someone who is interested in the organization, talk to them to see if you can recruit them to take your place. You’ll leave with your reputation intact because you didn’t leave the group hanging.
#4 – Find someone who can help you
Can someone assist you? For example, perhaps they could make phone calls or send e-mails for you. Delegate some of the work so the commitment is more in line with what you thought.
#5 – Can you be reassigned?
Talk to chair person of the committee. Maybe you can “trade duties” with someone else on the committee who is looking for more responsibility. If your circumstances have changed, the chair person will probably be happy to help.
We’ve been in this situation ourselves, Joe. The bottom line is that you should try to minimize the damage to yourself and the organization.
2 tips to keep this situation from repeating itself
#1 – Don’t commit on the spot
Many people are very flattered when they are recruited to serve. They often say “yes” on the spot, without really giving it much thought.
To keep this from happening again – commit to never committing on the spot!
The U.S. government has laws to protect consumers – you get 72 hours to reconsider a purchase. That’s a good rule when someone asks you to give your time …
Give it a day or three!
Thank them for considering you but tell them you’ll need to think about it for a few days.
#2 – When you say “yes” to anything, you’re saying “no” to something.
A lot of people don’t think about this. As you’re considering giving your time for a new cause, think about what you’ll have to give up because we all only have 24 hours in a day!
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Our bigg quote today is by Tony Robbins, who said,
Once you say, “Yes, I’ll do it” … the best thing to focus on is how to get it done.
Next time, we’ll talk about how to reclaim your weekend. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!
(Image by adamci)