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  • Writer's pictureRobert Norton

I'm flattered, but no.

Updated: Jun 24, 2022

My choir director recently offered me the chance to perform a solo. She asked me sheepishly, knowing full well that she would be tasking me with something super difficult in an incredibly short time frame.

It would have been my first solo since high school had I said yes. And it was an exceptionally challenging Sondheim piece notable for being one of the fastest songs in Broadway history. At the apex, it contains 68 words sung in 11 seconds, all of which I would have had to memorize in less than three weeks. It would have been a considerable stretch, even slowed down to community choir pace.

And did I mention that the concert is scheduled for the same week that I am traveling to Nashville to deliver a keynote speech and two workshops in two days? I would be racing from the airport to the concert venue.

And, despite all that, I wanted to say yes so badly! It was a chance to LEARN SOMETHING NEW doing SOMETHING I LOVE!

But, thank goodness, instead, I said, "Let me think about it." And, when I woke up at 2 AM having a middle school flashback dream of the time I forgot my lines in Hello Dolly, I knew that my psyche couldn't handle it.

Balance isn't a passive state; it's a rigorously active one. It's like standing with one foot on either side of a seesaw to keep it even. Maintaining equilibrium takes a lot of work.

Yes, we can increase our capacity to do hard things by reframing potential stressors as opportunities. But, sometimes, it's best to be more discerning about what commitments we make in the first place.

If you have noticed a pattern of overcommitting and regretting it, try asking yourself these questions before you say yes:

-Do I have time to do this justice?

-If I pass on the opportunity this time, will there be another one?

-Is this uniquely mine to do, or could someone else benefit from the opportunity?

-If this commitment popped up on my calendar on my most hectic day, how would I feel about it?

And, don't worry, the show will go on. My choir director, an award-winning vocalist, will perform the solo herself. It will be a rare treat for the rest of us!


MindFrame, LLC delivers leadership and professional coaching, team facilitation, and keynote presentations to help you create change for good.

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