Overwhelmed? You Might be Over-Promising and Under-Delivering

Under-promise and over-deliver.  I’m sure you’ve heard that phrase before.  Chances are you’re quite familiar with how it applies to the business world.  Adhering to this principle requires you to make realistic commitments to your clients or customers and then wow them when you go above and beyond their expectations.  This turns your clients into raving fans.  Over-promising and under-delivering, on the other hand, is detrimental to your reputation (and your sanity).

For those of us who struggle with piling our plates too full, this is a great principle to follow.  Do you often find yourself overextended and exhausted?   Are you a people pleaser?   Do you hate to say, “no” to people when they ask for your time, even if you don’t have time to give?  Do you impulsively take on new commitments without considering how they fit into your schedule or your life as a whole?  If this sounds like you, you’ve been over-promising, and it’s just a matter of time before you start under-delivering.

Here are 3 quick tips to help you break free from the “over-promising” habit:

  1. Commit to things with clarity and intention.  Before adding anything to your plate, consider how it aligns with your overall values and goals for your business and your life.
  2. Take a peek at your schedule before committing to anything.  If you have a tendency to over-promise, never say “yes” to anything on the spot.  Always give yourself time to evaluate what you already have on your plate and determine if you will realistically be able to deliver on your promise within the given time frame. 
  3. Practice saying “no.”  I know it’s hard for many of you to say “no” because you truly have a deep desire to help others.  Wanting to help others is great, but sometimes you just can’t honor everyone’s request.  Learn to say “no” before you’re at the point of overwhelm.  Many times, we mistakenly believe that we are the only ones who can help.  In most cases, this simply isn’t true.  This belief certainly does not empower others and it doesn’t serve you well, either.

Hey, you’re human so give yourself some leeway.  “Under-promising” just means being realistic and practical.  Do this and then strive to give your clients or customers (or even friends and family) your best and you will definitely over-deliver.

8 Response to “Overwhelmed? You Might be Over-Promising and Under-Delivering ”

Sue Painter
June 20, 2011
5:33 pm

Comment :

I love that little tip about checking your calendar before committing to something new….now if I could just get my hubby to calendar-watch, LOL!

Jeff Brunson
June 21, 2011
6:30 am

Comment :

Tiffany, while I have improved greatly over the last few years with the power of “no”, I do slip now and then. One of those challenge areas is fly-fishing; meaning, I sacrifice my time in the stream for giving my time too freely. I’m getting better on that one in this warm weather. For instance – and you will be proud – Thursday is blocked just like an all cay affair with a client so I can wade the river with a friend near Bristol.

Thanks for this encouragemetn in your post.

Tiffany deSilva
June 21, 2011
1:06 pm

Comment :

Thanks, Sue. I know firsthand how difficult it can be to get the hubby on board. ;-)

Tiffany deSilva
June 21, 2011
1:07 pm

Comment :

Good for you, Jeff! I am proud of you. Have a great time on Thursday!

Kristina Shands
June 23, 2011
11:21 am

Comment :

Ah, Tiffany. If only I had heard your wise words last week. I am in the middle of learning a lesson (many lessons, really) about scheduling and over-promising. Thankfully, I have the most amazing clients, but I will never over-schedule myself again.

Linda Pucci
June 24, 2011
4:41 am

Comment :

These are wonderful tips, Tiffany. One that has worked for me (when I remember to use it) is to buy myself time to think. I take the request and tell people I need to check my calendar to see if I can do it. That gives me the distance from the request I sometimes need to be able to say “no” or to look at it more realistically.

Mary Ellen Miller
June 25, 2011
8:20 am

Comment :

Great tips. One of my professors in MBA school always chanted that mantra, “under promise and over deliver.” It’s good food for thought.

Heidi Alexandra Pollard
June 27, 2011
6:12 pm

Comment :

Great tips – particularly around saying no – in fact over the past week I have been working with my leading lady mastermind members to practice saying no – for many of them this has been very powerful and liberating!

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