Confessions of a Recovering Commitment-Phobe

This is a guest post by Deanna Lohnes, one of our Play-at-Home members.


I’m commitment-phobic.

There. I admitted it.

I avoid making long-range plans because “I don’t know where I’m going to be then.” I twitch when I sign a year lease. My mortgage? Forget it. My lawyer thought I was going to pass out when we passed papers. I like quick fixes, magic bullets and one-simple-tweaks. I panic at the thought of things not changing. I’ve never been married. I love the idea of Gwynnie Bee, Netflix and anything else impermanent. I want the option of changing my mind.

It should come as no surprise then that I resisted the idea of commitment in business. I looked for quick fixes. I read lots of sales pages promising magic bullets. I wanted to believe in overnight success. I looked for shortcuts. I tried all the one-simple-tweaks I could find.

Skip ahead to the end of 2012. Everything is going along OK. Not brilliantly, but OK. Passably well. Reasonable. But no one wants things to be passably OK. I want brilliant. I have a list of dreams and big goals.

Then it hit me, I need to commit. Commit to doing the work. Commit to bringing my vision to life. (After all, there’s a reason “Commitment and Follow Through” are part of the Prosperity’s Kitchen Manifesto.) 2013 will be my Year of Commitment.

This year, instead of vaguely half-assing my quarterly financial goals, I sat down with a calendar and wrote it all out. This year, I wrote out my marketing calendar on an actual calendar instead of just scribbling “April: launch” in a notebook.

How ’bout you?

You might be a closet commitment-phobe if…

  • You avoid writing down your goals. Writing things down feels too set-in-stone for those of us who don’t want to be fenced in or tied down.
  • You avoid making a three- to five-year plan. I can hear all the commitment-phobes from here, “But anything can happen in three years.” That’s true. What I’m finally learning to accept is that the most likely outcome is no outcome if I don’t commit to making something happen.
  • You like to wing it, play it by ear or keep it loose. Commitment and discipline are good for you and good for your business. That’s a bitter pill for me. PLAN is a four letter word. If I have a plan, I have to follow through. I have to commit to execution. Not easy for me.

Committing to one course of action means eliminating other courses of action. What’s that old proverb about the man who chases two rabbits catches none? I’ve been trying to beat that most of my life.

I’m like Wile E. Coyote in the desert with my Acme contraptions determined to get both those rabbits and prove the proverb wrong.

Here’s the good news, fellow commitment-phobes. You can’t keep all your options open all the time, but you CAN change your mind. If committing to one course doesn’t work, you can try another course of action. Committing doesn’t have to be a rigid, monotonous drag. I can commit to a course of action. I can do the work AND I can still have fun. Commitment is not synonymous with dull and tedious.

The year is still new and my commitment to committing is still fresh. I’ll let you know at the end of the year if I’m fully reformed. What I do know is that the difference commitment makes is nothing short of miraculous. Changes are already happening. Who knows? Maybe I’ll even get married this year.

Your turn. Tell me in the comments where a struggle with commitment shows up in your business.


And if you need some help with planning, accountability and moving forward, might we recommend our Play-at-Home membership? You commit to doing the work, and we’ll commit to helping you make your big dreams come true.

photo credit: Andrew_D_Hurley via photopin cc

About the Author

Deanna - smallDeanna is the founder of Parlance Media, a marketing and copywriting company specializing in non-traditional businesses. She just released Marketing Your Square Peg Business to a Round Hole World (and she’s committed to seeing it flourish!).

About Tea Silvestre

Executive Producer of Prosperity's Kitchen, author and marketing coach to solopreneurs.

  • Oh, Goodness Gracious Gravy Train, YES!!!! It’s one reason it’s taken so bloody long to find out what the actual focus of ‘Paranormal Avians’ is. I knew if I chose only one facet, I wouldn’t stick. Haven’t done in the past, no real reason to expect so in the future.

    Once we found the connection between the bits, it’s going much better. Get to have my cake & eat it too! 🙂 :>

    I hear you about the coming back laters and seeing how it all went. :>

    Best of Fortune to you on your Quest! 🙂 :>

    • Thank you.

      As I’m reading through the comments and considering other’s reactions, I think balance is the way to go for me. I want to strike a balance between keeping things new and fresh and maintaining momentum on existing things. Ship, do the heavy lifting but still leave space to play with shiny objects.

      Best of fortune to you as well *passes virtual fork for eating proverbial cake*

  • Nathara

    I am SOOO a commitment-phobe! But I think part of it is that I don’t really get excited enough to commit to anything… or I’ve committed to noninvestment. One of those.

    • I hear you there! It’s about finding the thing that you ARE passionate about enough to go through the *bleah* stuff about. Or the facet thereof, as the case may be. :>

      • I agree with Birdy about finding the thing you are passionate enough about.

        For me, some of the problem is fear of choosing the wrong thing. Remembering that no decision is set in stone helps with that (said the woman who went to 5 colleges and declared 9 different majors before graduating). But in my case a lot of it is just an excuse to avoid shipping, being seen and doing the heavy lifting.

        • Hey, at least you graduated! 🙂 :>

          Oh, yes, the avoiding-being-seen thing! I SOOOOOOO hear you there! 🙂 :>
          On that… yay you for doing this guest-post! 🙂 :>
          Being seen in a very good way! 🙂 :>

  • And thanks, Deanna, for the reminder that, yes, you ARE allowed to go back & change your mind if need be. 🙂 :>

  • ColleenConger

    Thanks for being so honest about your commitment phobia Deanna. Unlike you, I’m an over committer (is that a word?) I promise everything to everyone which contributes to my over achieving people pleaser doormat disorder. I’m passionate about learning and have to consciously tell myself, “Stop doing that, you need to finish this other thing.”

    I’m intrigued and inspired by your “You can’t keep all your options open all the time, but you CAN change
    your mind.” statement. Options to me are like spinning plates. You can’t keep them all going, but you can lay a bunch of them down on a table and set your mind on twirling the important ones.
    As I contemplate my own role as a contestant on Prosperity’s Kitchen, I’m keenly aware of my need to hunker down banish half-assery. The well being of my business and that of my fellow teammates depend on it.

    Here’s to big and bright commitments for you in 2013. Oh, and if you do get married, I want to design your wedding invitations 😀

    • I love the spinning plate imagery. My instinct is to keep them all going all the time. I’m learning to accept that that is not possible.

      Best wishes on your mission to banish half-assery! I think PK will help both of us with that, even if we’re on the opposite ends of the commitment spectrum.

  • Jayne – DriveSafeRideSafe

    Deanna, Well said! I waffle between commitment phobe and the over committer like Colleen– I get distracted by “shiny” objects and am always willing to help others with their ideas, but then drop the ball on my own. I am hoping 2013 will be the year of focus and future financial success. Thanks for sharing

    • You’re welcome. I have a serious case of “oooh shinies.” Part of my year of commitment is setting aside the shiny object until I’ve given an idea the attention and effort it needs.

      Best wishes to you in finding the focus you need this year.

  • You put a new twist on commitment Deanna. I love change. Even my handwriting changes with the pen or the mood. But I know commitment and carry through makes life productive and develops trust. So for me, a little bit of both thanks.

    • I admire the balance you’re able to find Julia. I like your message that it’s possible to have change while still building the trust that comes from follow-through. I’m working on finding that balance.

  • Can’t appreciate the honesty enough! Thanks Deanna. I think more of us suffer from this than we know. I’m also learning to set concrete goals, but remain flexible enough that if life throws me a meatier bone than I had originally ordered, I can flow with it.

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