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Old 11-10-2019, 05:31 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Over-promising: A Form of Addiction?


Point to ponder - I keep meaning to say "no" to work-related stuff, but I rarely do. I am fairly certain I am at maximum capacity for the coming year. In moments of clarity I tell myself, "I can't take any more clients this year".

Then someone new calls to ask if I can take them on as a client, and I rarely say "no".
I told myself I wouldn't take any more client appointments on Saturdays for the rest of the year, and I have.
I just agreed to take a new client who wants a service I don't yet offer. (I've been thinking about offering it when I add staff, but I don't yet. )

It makes me feel good to be helpful, but I'm running myself ragged.

My question is: do you think this is another manifestation of addiction? I enjoy the feeling I get when helping people, so I chase after it? (Even when I know the side effects are going to be painful.)

This morning I was looking over my workload and thinking, "Why, oh why, did I agree to all of this?" Then I started wondering what you all might think...

TIA!

p.s. on a lighter note, I have no trouble telling vendors "no!" I get a dozen calls a week from people who want to do my printing for me, sell me phone service, have me resell their financial products, etc.
Me: "No! No! No!"
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Old 11-10-2019, 06:07 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I suppose it depends on how much you enjoy what you do. A significant proportion of my salary is made up of commission so I have a financial incentive to chase business and for me I would say that, on balance , I enjoy my job - say two days out of three - therefore I don't begrudge the time. On the other hand if I spend too long at work I do lose my appetite for it and it becomes counter productive so I guess there is a balance but if you are still enjoying it then keep saying yes. Maybe you will get to the point where you are saying yes but it will be employees doing the actual work.

It sounds like things are going well Nons so good luck whatever conclusion you arrive at.
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Old 11-10-2019, 06:22 AM   #3 (permalink)
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No it is not a form of addiction.
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Old 11-10-2019, 06:39 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I'm self-employed and also take on more work than I can really do, including Saturday mornings. In my case though, I can't see a link with my problem with alcohol. I take on too much work as I'm worried that the work might suddenly dry up and so I need to make hay while the sun shines.
That said, I have noticed addictive/compulsive behaviour in other parts of my life which makes me feel that there is a personality type that is more prone to having this type of problem.
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Old 11-10-2019, 06:45 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I don't know about being an addiction but the first thing I thought reading your OP was "People Pleasing!" I'm definitely a pleaser and a giver - and my response has been to work on boundaries.

My first sponsor told me "No." is a complete sentence. I've learned that applies to....anything and everything. For example, overcommitting at work and saying yes to something I can't offer or do yet. I just have to do that. And it was still a little uncomfortable just this past Friday, to lay out in discussion what I can (and excel at) regarding a new social media role I am taking on. I'm excellent at follow up, relationship building, strategy. I'm NOT good at fundraising - asking people for money is just not in my DNA, and to me that's different than sales (which has been my profession for a long time before changing avenues). I also had to layout what social media vehicles I am good at and what I don't yet know about, but will learn and then take over.

If I can look at relationship with clients, bosses, and even coworkers/peers, like I do relationships in non-work then I can better steer away from over-promising and toward executing most effectively.
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Old 11-10-2019, 06:52 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I agree with August. An addiction? No. But part of a way of thinking that struggles with boundaries? Yes. Maybe some perfectionism thrown in?

I would also imagine clients=Money? Vendors =pain in the butt? haha. So I don't know what the solution is except balance is important and you deserve to have some down time.
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Old 11-10-2019, 10:06 AM   #7 (permalink)
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hm.....so much here that is 'unknown': maybe you just like to please others. and there might be oodles of reasons for that, not all of them positive and altruistic. i know that sometimes i am too uncomfortable to say no, though i really don't want to do the thing asked or offered. something i work on.

you didn't ask if it is an addiction, but if it might be a manifestation of addiction, which i think is a slightly different question.
off the cuff here, i'm thinking it might be a manifestation more of not having found a balance between worklife and the rest of your life....which lack of unfound balance in itself might be a manifestation of something akin to addiction. (having trouble with "addiction", as i don't see people as being in addiction when they have stopped for a while already. "alcoholism" comes closer, for me, but is another can of worms best not added here)

how do you experience it feeling-wise?
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Old 11-10-2019, 10:57 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I’d say it’s more about not being able to set and stick to boundaries (used to do the same myself with work). Not defining to sticking to my boundaries sent me back to drinking or other destructive behaviours over and over again, without fail. The technique I started to use was to not make work decisions straight away and always use the “can I get back to you?”. Then I would give myself time to breathe and think and started to get back to people with a polite “at this time I am unable to help”. Not putting myself under pressure to make a decision there and then helped me get the strength to learn how to say no when it was the right thing for me to do. c
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Old 11-10-2019, 12:32 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I'm with August on this (people pleasing is my Olympic sport) and I think setting boundaries in the way Mantalady described is a good start to dealing with it. When I was at work - I'm retired now - I almost always took stuff on for no good reason. Entirely my own choice. Finally I learned to say something like 'I'm afraid I don't have the capacity right now' or 'I'll need to get back to you before I can confirm' etc etc. I don't think it was a part of my addiction to alcohol but I do think that the need to please was somehow obscurely related to why I did drink to excess. I can still feel slightly uncomfortable when I'm with friends who "can't" buy a bottle of wine with dinner any more because I'm not sharing a drink with them. But not so uncomfortable that I would ever let that jeopardise my plan for recovery so that's an improvement.
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Old 11-10-2019, 01:40 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I have trouble reconciling people pleasing with my AA way of life which to quote the book means "Our very lives depend upon our constant thought of others and how we can help meet their needs". The danger in "people pleasing" as such may be that it could lead to resentment which is bad news for alcoholics of my type.

On the other hand I have learned to use a business principle "under promise and over deliver". It avoids pressure for me and ensures the customer will not be disappointed, in fact it creates the opportunity to later exceed their expectations.

For those customers whose expectations cannot be talked down I introduced an urgent service fee, which compensates for the disruption to other customers or work in progress. Amazingly, most customers suddenly find it was not as urgent as they first thought, and they reduce their expectations accordingly.

I once had a guy working for me who constantly over promised and then could not deliver, leading to lots of disruption, pressure, and unhappy customers, which in turn gave him a migraine and he would have to go home early.

A couple of other principles or policies that have worked well is that we don't take rude or bad paying customers or jobs which we know are not profitable, we send them to our opposition, and the other one is we don't want all the business out there, just the profitable business.
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