When you need to back out of a commitment…
I started my life coaching practice about 10 years ago.
Over the last decade, I’ve worked with hundreds of clients. I’ve logged over 10,000 hours of coaching time. I’ve published hundreds of blog posts. I’ve produced numerous online programs, classes, and retreats. I’ve recorded over 100 podcast episodes, releasing them weekly like clockwork, never missing a single one.
I do not skip weeks. Not ever. Even when I’m on vacation with my family, I make sure to get plenty of newsletters and podcasts queued up in advance so that my assistant can blast ‘em out while I’m on vacay.
I pride myself on “showing up” for my clients consistently. I show up, and show up, and show up. I never flake. I never cancel. If I make a commitment, I am there. My friends know—even if it means driving across the state in a rental car and taking 2 red-eye flights to make it, I am there.
Until… this month.
This last month has been the first time in my entire career that I’ve had to cancel, reschedule, and back out of several commitments. I won’t go into all the reasons why—it’s a long story that involves a death in my family, the strain of getting my son off to college, and about a hundred other factors that I can’t talk about publicly. I had to make some difficult choices—and clear several things off my calendar—in order to rest and take care of my health. It wasn’t fun, but it needed to be done.
Of course, I felt terrible at first. I worried that my clients would be furious, that awful consequences would arise. But that didn’t happen. Instead, for the most part, I was met with incredible kindness and understanding.
Here are some lessons that I’ve learned about canceling…
– If you’ve built a solid professional reputation over the course of 5-10 years, then canceling a few things will not tarnish your reputation. You’re going to be just fine.
– Your ideal clients—the people who really care about you, just as much as you care about them—they will understand. They will not fill your inbox with fuming emails. They will understand, and they will send love, flowers, and handwritten cards in the mail. They will keep loving you and hiring you. Because they’re awesome. Just like you.
– Nobody is perfect. Adele has canceled concerts due to vocal issues because her doctors urged her to rest. Beyonce has canceled concerts too. Several times, actually. Nobody ever wants to do this. But sometimes, it’s got to happen. It doesn’t mean you’re a bad person, a bad artist, or a bad entrepreneur. It just means that you’re human.
There’s a big difference between being a flake—constantly canceling—and being a committed, devoted entrepreneur who needs to back out—once in a blue moon—because of a highly unusual situation. If you keep 99 commitments and have to cancel 1, you know what? You’re doing pretty great.
Sometimes, the most loving thing you can do for yourself—and for the clients you’ll be serving in the near future—is to wipe your calendar clean and reboot.
If that’s what you need to do, please have compassion for yourself. Rest. Recharge. Bounce back into the game when you’re ready. You’ll be missed. And, you’ll be loved.
P.S. Click here to get on the interest list for my popular Life is Delicious course. I’m creating a whole new class for women who want to get their lives back, stop working so hard, and create a beautiful life.