What is Commitment Phobia?
Commitment phobia is everywhere. How many are afraid of signing any sort of contract or agreement with all of today’s legal implications and entanglements? With our sue-happy society, the fear-factor number is rising right along with the number of litigations! Commitment phobia and it’s cousin, fear of risk, is seen in both personal and professional situations. There are risks in relationships, risks in entrepreneurship, risks in decisions of almost any kind. There are more wait and see attitudes in this generation than any other.
Our country’s founding fathers took tremendous risks and did not face commitment phobia. Think of Thomas Jefferson, third president of the United States, primary author of the Declaration of Independence. He faced tremendous opposition, yet believed so strongly in the declaration that he fought long and hard to put a strong groundwork in place for generations to come. We have definitely benefitted from that commitment.
Abraham Lincoln, sixteenth president of the United States and self-educated as an attorney, is known best for abolishing slavery in the midst of extreme political pressure. Where did it get him? Extreme opposition and eventually, assassination. Those presidents, and many more, were not afraid to take a stand and commit to a decision that would garner criticism and even death. Both Jefferson and Lincoln took the initiative to approach difficult subjects, take on extreme leadership and to fight for what they believed in. (see Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin)
Today, many get to a certain stage of life and give up. Where are those who are willing to take a risk who have the experience and knowledge of history to make wise decisions? With freedoms and even many privileges at risk, is it worth upsetting a comfortable lifestyle? Many of those risks are being left to the generation now coming up, with mixed consequences based on inexperience and social pressure.
Is commitment phobia escalated because mistakes and blunders are broadcast across the news and social media? I think this plays a role for many who often depend on updates of world events with posts and news broadcasts. With the effects of Photoshop, video effects and the ability to create viral posts based on false facts, fear sets in for any misstep. This fear also carries over in creating and managing new business ventures, which is extremely dangerous for entrepreneurs. If that fear has set in, start with the three simple steps listed here.
Three small steps to overcome commitment phobia.
COMMITTMENT ONE: Face Your Fear. Actually write it down. (yes, with pencil and paper!) When you fully define a problem and see it, you reduce the size immensely. The problem doesn’t go away, but you’ll be able to look at the situation with more realistic logic.
COMMITTMENT TWO: Take a small risk. It’s O.K. to start very small. This is very important at any stage of life because once you stop taking any risks, even though you’re still breathing, you’re dead in many ways.
COMMITTMENT THREE: Celebrate the ground you’ve gained and commit to a larger step. Commitment phobia can occur in most every area of life. Look at your relationships. Are you afraid to commit to someone you care about? Fear has no boundaries of time, subject or personality.
With the rise of entitlement and commitment phobia, the freedoms our founding fathers risked their lives for could disappear. Remember, it doesn’t take much to commit to a cause, give of yourself to a person or worthy organization or start a new venture. Start small, but start now!