Question 9: What are you doing to clear up past messes

There are some things we know that we will not finish, or never get around to. Why? Because we say we are committed to them , but in reality we are committed to something else. An example is me thinking I am committed to having a tidy office, whereas in reality I am committed to spending my time doing something way more interesting than tidying up. Besides I know where everything is.

What have you committed to that you will never cross off your to do list?

If you are never going to deal with it.. be radical just take it off the list.
…And if that involved promising to do something for somebody and it is not your priority then maybe now is the time to reassess your priorities and speak to those affected about what you can and cannot and will or will not do. In most circumstances people are more frustrated if something has been promised and there is no communication about whether it will be done or not than if they are told, politely ( sometimes with a reason but not always) that something will not be done. For example think how infuriating it is if you are waiting on a cold railway station and the train is delayed. The energy we waste stressing about how long it is going to be, when will it arrive, will there be a seat available etc. If there is an announcement over the tannoy ( that we can actually hear!) stating that the train is twenty minutes late we then have a choice… wait for the train or go and grab a coffee.

What do you do that you declare you will never do again? Eating chocolate? Binge drinking? What you DO indicates what you are really committed to

what are you really committed to? What are your hidden objectives?

Have more fun? Do less work? Earn more cash? Usually it is to have easy life. We can chose to have an easy life or a life of contribution.

Sometimes being committed to a life of contribution is tricky which is why you need passion to keep you through those times.

What issues do you do you need to clear up with people?

We promise but do not deliver, we let people down and we try and “look good”. The first step to being real is to take responsibility for what we do, think and how we behave.

Steps to clearing up our past messes:

  • Acknowledge and admit to the person affected that we have lied, broken our promises, where we have behaved badly or blamed others and not taken responsibility. That doesn’t mean you have to guilt trip as that will serve nobody.
  • Acknowledge how they have been impacted. Really try and see it from their perspective.
  • What can you do to make amends? What do you commit yourself to in the future?

An example would be if you are always late you could say that:

  • you acknowledge that you are always late and this means that
  • they are hanging around and wasting their time and
    it feels disrespectful because by implication you are saying your time is more important than theirs,
    that it has the impact that they don’t believe you when you say you will be there at seven
    and that because you expect them to be late you arrange to meet half an hour earlier than you need to,
    and that they are impacted because they are anxious if they are going to be late for the cinema or whatever it is you are meeting for.

    When you are acknowledging the impact it is very easy for us to skate over this step as quickly as possible as we do not wish to face the consequences of our behaviour but it is important that we flush out and admit to as many impacts as we can. Sorry about that.

  • You can make the promise that in future you will be on time and take action so that you organise yourself so that you can be on time in the future.

    This may seem trivial and in some ways it is but is incredible how much energy we waste on things we have not done or conversations we have not had.

    What conversation do you need to do today to clear up a past mess?

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