Goins, Writer

On Writing, Ideas, and Making a Difference

Get Over Your Commitment Phobia & Do Something

I know a lot of “commitment-phobes.” Most of them are my peers. Some of them are my friends. In fact, I was one of them. So I’ll just cut to the chase: I’m sick of this crap.

I’m tired of noncommittal, unreliable people who give the rest of us ready to make a difference in the world a bad name.

Here’s a message to those who are apprehensive to commit: It’s time to get over your commitment phobia and do something. The fruit of it is worth the pain.

“But I’m scared of making the wrong decision…”

Any commitment is a risk. That’s a given. However, we need to consider the greater risk of waiting for the perfect opportunity. Every leader I know, every influencer I meet, knows something that I am slowly learning: Greatness doesn’t come cheap.

Greatness has a cost. And its name is commitment. You can’t achieve success without pledging yourself to a cause. You can’t take a relationship to the next level without making a choice. You can’t create without shipping.

Sure, it costs you something. It probably costs you a hundred somethings. Every choice inevitably means not choosing something else. But what it also costs you is the anxiety of waiting, freeing you from the paralysis of doing nothing. Committing sets you free.

My painful experience with commitment

I learned about the fruit of commitment first through getting ready for marriage.

Initially, I struggled with committing the rest of my life to one person. While I knew that it was the right choice, there was still something in me wanting to pull back. To delay. To take my time. I was afraid. It sounded too risky. And it was. But when I kissed my wife, I knew that pushing through the fear was the right choice.

Same thing happened with my first job. I had a picture in my mind of an ideal and when my experience didn’t meet that, I would get scared and want to leave. But something wouldn’t let me.

Instead, I stuck through, and it made all the difference.

Epiphany for a commitment-phobe

Eventually, I realized that the fear of commitment was what made it so great. Some blessings only come with long-term investment. They may be less grandiose than the quick and erratic changes that mark adolescence, but they are far more beautiful.

C.S. Lewis calls this phenomenon the “quieter love.” It surpasses butterflies and gushy feelings, but still has a profound effect on the soul. When we work past our commitment phobia and do something, we find a deeper, albeit more subtle, form of abundance in life. And it’s a beautiful thing.

Some assignments in life take more than a season. Certain flavors of greatness take time. They require blood, sweat, and tears before you see the harvest.

This could be a job, a class, or a relationship. We all eventually face a decision that requires something deep of us. We want to hold back, we want to minimize our potential losses. We try to play it safe, and that’s the wrong approach.

What you should do next

It’s important for our own sakes that we don’t shy away from these opportunities to grow. When you come across these situations where you feel uncomfortable and hesitant, don’t be afraid. Recognize that this is a form of what Steven Pressfield calls the Resistance — a spiritual, emotional force that is trying prevent you from being your true self.

Something is holding you back from committing; don’t let it. Don’t wait for more information if it’s not going to come. Don’t “sleep on it.” Don’t procrastinate. These are all distractions — subtle forms of deception defeating countless leaders that could be making a difference right now.

Embrace the challenge. Make the choice. Commit and do something. The fruit is always worth the pain. The alternative is the fruit goes unpicked and falls to the ground, rotten. And who wants that?

Have you ever struggled with commitment phobia? How did you beat it? Share in the comments.

About Jeff Goins

I write books and help writers get their work out into the world. I am the best-selling author of four books, including The Art of Work. Each week, I send out a newsletter with free tips on writing and creativity.

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