There are ideas, projects, and even people that we commit to on a Monday in the afternoon, and by Friday of the same week, we aren’t committed to those projects, ideas, or people anymore.
And since human nature rarely changes, even though cultures, technologies, and knowledge bases do, it is important to acknowledge the importance of two things:
One, we pay lip service—that is, advocacy, adherence, or allegiance expressed in words—to ideas, projects, and even other people without thinking about the cost to us of doing so.
We underestimate the costs while overestimating the price of inaction to the other party. This comes through in Friday statements such as “Oh, they’ll find another person,” or “Well, get Sharon to do it,” or “I ran out of time.”
Two, we underestimate the benefit of quitting; quitting early, quitting often, and quitting the right ideas, projects, and even people, for the right reasons.
We often refuse to clarify in our own heads “right”—which is a subjective piece of analysis, not objective (as we would sometimes like it to be)—and we fail to communicate to the other party what our “right” is—this requires courage and candor.
Here’s a suggestion: Instead of committing enthusiastically on a Monday, and then regretfully backing out of your commitment by Friday afternoon, quit early, and quit often. After you’ve done that, explain why you’re not committing (and quitting) to the other party—and to yourself—in a way that both you—and them—can understand.
Otherwise, be prepared to follow-through with what you committed to in haste on a Monday with regret on that Friday.