Ever feel like you can’t seem to come through on your promises? Do people say that you’re not dependable? Do you feel like everybody wants something but you just can’t keep up with all the requests for help?
When I was just out of high school, I went through a phase where I was constantly letting people down. I was making promises and not keeping them. I didn’t do it on purpose, but it kept happening anyway.
I had the best intentions every time I made a promise, but the reality was, I just couldn’t say “no”. I felt like I would let people down if I said “no” to their requests. So I made promises I wasn’t sure I could keep.
When I didn’t come through for someone, I leaned heavily on excuses. It didn’t make those I was letting down feel any better, but it took away some the sting I felt from disappointing them. The truth is, it was a bigger let-down when I made a promise and didn’t keep it then it would have been to just tell them “no” up front. But saying “no” wasn’t so easy to say when you’re standing in front of someone who is asking for help. So I said yes.
People took me at my word. They were counting on me and I left them hanging. I always felt so badly for them when I knew I couldn’t deliver. I was embarrassed and they were disappointed. It was making me miserable. I had to do something about this, and to start with, I needed to be honest with myself and take personal responsibility for the poor outcomes. I had to stop making excuses, and start making promises I knew I could keep. I needed to learn how to deal with people with honesty and authenticity.
How did I fix this?
It took time and plenty of practice, but finally, I learned how to say “no”. I needed to hold myself accountable, but I was overwhelmed and unable to keep up with so many requests so I had to start saying “no” when a new request for my help was made. I enjoy helping people and like to be seen as a dependable person, but it’s hard to be dependable when you’ve got too many obligations to juggle.
It’s better to be honest and turn down requests for your help, than to make promises you can’t keep. A little disappointment up front is better than a great deal of disappointment when you leave someone in a jam later on because you didn’t keep your promise.
A Few Ways to Keep Your Promises:
1) Only say “yes” when you know you can follow through.
2) Don’t say “yes” if you sincerely don’t want to, otherwise you won’t make it a priority and you won’t get it done.
3) Keep a list of everything you agree to do and review the list every day so you can stay on top of your commitments.
4) Put your needs first. If you’re not on top of things in your life, you’ll likely procrastinate on other people’s requests.
If you’d like to learn more on this subject along with examples of how to approach saying “no”, read How To Say “No“