When it comes to your commitments, responsibilities and relationships, are you willing or are you unwilling to give your full self?
Finding clarity in life, love or business almost always demands that you ask yourself the hardest question – the one you’ve been avoiding. Lately, as I’ve been restructuring my time and my passion, I’ve been asking myself a tough one.
Am I REALLY willing to do this? Or am I just doing this because _____.
I feel obligated.
It’s the “right” thing to do.
I feel guilty.
I already said I would.
I did it last year.
They’ll be upset if I don’t.
And on and on and on.
It’s so important to get clear on what you’re WILLING to do and what you’re UNWILLING to do. But that’s much easier said than done – unless you have these tricks up your sleeve.
Ready to approach your life with a willing attitude? Let’s dive in.
A Mini Reflection: Are You Willing Or Unwilling?
Are You Really Willing?
Sometimes we agree to things or willingly show up for a commitment – but with a begrudging attitude. We agree to something we’re actually opposed to. Or we shift into passive resentment because we don’t really want to be there.
That’s not fair to you. It’s not fair to the person you committed to. And it doesn’t do anyone any good.
So first, we need to understand what it means to be TRULY willing. What does it look like to approach things with a willing spirit?
Being truly willing means showing up with genuine enthusiasm to get the job done. It means you’re excited and proud to make your contribution. True willingness is giving 110% of your effort, plus some of your heart.
You may be wondering WHY? Isn’t it easier to just do the things we have to do, and give half our effort instead of all or none?
Here’s why: Your word should mean something.
Your willingness is your commitment. Your commitment has a standard and a quality that is evident by how you present yourself and how you serve your others.
True willingness looks a certain way, and other people can recognize when your willingness isn’t true. If you’re not truly willing, and you water down your commitment by only giving it 50%, that is what people will remember.
Maya Angelou famously said: “They may forget what you said, but they’ll never forget how you made them feel.”
If you’re going to say you’re willing to do something, be prepared to give it your all. Be fully present. Put away the phone. Drop the excuses. Don’t leave one foot in and one foot out.
Be willing to share in a moment with others, and make them feel the power of your presence – and your commitment.
THAT is true willingness.
Signs You Actually Resent Your Commitments
So we’ve defined what true willingness looks like. But what does it look like when you’ve lost that will?
It can be difficult to spot in our own lives, so here are some signs that unwillingness has crept into an area of your life:
- You have to be talked into showing up, or you have to talk yourself into it.
- You fight the urge to avoid a person or event.
- You’re relieved when an “excuse” presents itself.
- You show up but find every opportunity to mentally “check out.”
- You reach for your phone too many times with certain people or situations.
- You’re making slow progress because your heart isn’t in it.
- You’re hesitant to share a commitment or relationship with the world.
- You stall, procrastinate or avoid.
- You find problems that aren’t really there.
- You say you want to finish a project but never “find the time.”
- You feel like a commitment drags on forever.
If any of these feelings or behaviors resonate with you, it might be time to examine whether you’re a willing participant in that endeavor. Ask yourself: Where have I been unwilling in my life?
How To Find A Willing Spirit
If you’ve found an area or two of your life – a commitment, relationship or responsibility – where you’re not feeling a true sense of willingness, then it’s time to clean up the unwillingness from your life.
How? There are things you can stop doing, things you can’t stop doing, and things you haven’t yet committed to. First, start being more mindful of the things you commit to in the future. Don’t say yes unless you feel that fist-pumping excitement I like to call TRUE willingness.
Then, cut ties with the things you can leave behind. This doesn’t have to be a cold-turkey, hard-stop ending. You can break off commitments with grace by giving lots of notice, recommending a replacement, or simply pausing your involvement while you recover from burnout.
Finally, let’s address those commitments you can’t walk away from simply because you don’t feel truly willing. Here’s the hard truth: You have to find the willingness.
For you, that might mean having an honest conversation about changing, shifting or delegating some of your responsibilities. Leave room for negotiations, but keep your commitment. It’s a great way to find a mutually beneficial solution.
At the end of the day, you’re in charge of what you stand for, what your word means and how you make others feel. But you also have to be honest with yourself and in alignment with your dreams and goals.
Take the time to be honest about your willingness, and unwillingness, and do whatever you can to even the score – because how you show up says so much about you. And don’t you want to say good things?