This Is Why I No Longer Commit To Things “No Matter What”
Last week I wrote about multipotentiality and how some of us enjoy pursuing different projects and interests rather than focusing on just one. That post made me think of my own relationship with commitment and today I want to talk about this.
Commitment in itself is a great thing. It’s how we get things done, how we grow and build new habits, how our relationships flourish… Yes, we all know its benefits. But I find it’s equally important to know when it’s time to break a commitment. And it’s a very simple formula:
We break a commitment when it no longer feels right. When it starts draining us instead of filling us up. When there’s no meaning or purpose left in the activity or the relationship we committed to.
We break a commitment when it no longer feels in alignment with who we are.
I have practised this many times in my life whenever I felt I needed to go in a different direction. Many people don’t understand, and I don’t expect them to. It’s not something I can explain beyond the words I’m sharing here. It’s not coming from the logical part of the mind. There’s no reasoning, no list of pros and cons. It’s… an emotion. An intuition of some sort.
I have put an end to friendships when they stopped feeling right. And there was nothing the other person did. To these people, I often say, “I believe we came into each other’s lives to grow and learn something from each other and now it’s time to move on”. There’s no animosity, no drama, no ill feelings on my part. I simply feel we need to go on different paths from now on. To me, it’s part of our evolution.
I behave in a similar way in a work environment. There always comes a point when something feels off. Often it’s because I discover that the job is not aligned with my values. If that happens, I just can’t keep doing it (and if I continue, my body forces me to stop with an array of physical and emotional symptoms). One time I quit a job that was clearly wrong for me. When the boss asked me why, I simply said, “because it goes against my principles”.
(As an INFP personality type, nothing matters more to me than my principles. But I’ll talk about that another time).
This leads me to today’s story. Three years ago I was trying to decide what to do with my life (ah, the neverending story). I wasn’t happy with my job and I wanted to do something meaningful but I didn’t know what that was. So I did what you should never do: I looked for the answers outside of myself.
I’ve always been interested in inner work and at the time I was reading a lot about coaching. I thought it would be a nice career because of all the lifestyle benefits and the satisfaction of helping others, but I had many doubts. Was it really for me? I started asking coaches I knew for their opinion. How is it for you? Do you recommend it? Do you think I’d be good at it? Eep! Wrong.
Never, never look for the answers outside of yourself.
But I did. And so I spent triple zeros on training. I don’t regret studying coaching. It was a great learning experience. I don’t think of it as a mistake but as a necessary part of my journey. And yet that career wasn’t my path. Still, I forced myself to finish the training and joined a mentorship program for people who wanted to build a service-based business.
Oh, I was in for a ride.
I liked the mentorship at first. It taught me many things and helped me reconnect with my true self. It helped me gain clarity and I met lots of amazing people. It was through that mentorship experience that I realised I didn’t want to be a coach, so I owe it to them. But eventually, I started feeling it again, that silent nudge pointing in a different direction. That whisper in my heart that gently said, “my dear… time to move on”.
The problem was I had committed for two years. I still had one year to go (and to pay for).
I have tortured myself countless times. Why did I commit for so long? What was I thinking? I felt trapped. My fantasy of a coaching business had vanished and I was left with substantial debt and a job that was making me sick. The irony. I join a mentorship to help me escape from my day job and I end up having to keep it so I can pay for the mentorship.
In the end, I had to make a choice. I couldn’t get out of my contract but I really felt that mentorship wasn’t for me anymore. So I chose to make peace with it and continue paying even though I don’t use it anymore. Some days it’s easier than others, but I try to see this as a lesson, or three of them:
- Do not sign up for long-term payment plans ever again.
- Read contracts very, very, veeeery carefully.
- When your heart doesn’t feel 100% sure, pay attention.
I tell myself money is just energy that comes and goes. These thousands of dollars will go from me to someone else, and other people will give me thousands of euros in one way or another as well. It’s how we relate to each other in the material world. Once it’s all paid, it will be forgotten.
These lessons have served their purpose. Now I’m much more careful with what I choose. I have stopped relying on outside sources. I’ve even stopped relying on my rational mind. When faced with an opportunity, I check in with my heart: Is this something that feels right or do I have doubts? If I have doubts, I pause and check in later. If I still have doubts, I don’t pursue it.
But if I check in and I feel expansive and joyful and there’s no shadow of a doubt about it, I jump in. I might be scared, but I know in my heart it’s what I want to do, even if it doesn’t make sense to anyone else. That, to me, is the definition of freedom.
I hope you took something from this. May your heart lead you to magical places.