Before You Commit

Some wisdom I’ve known for a long time: Pay very close attention to the way people treat you before they hire you, marry you, work with you, or take a class from you. Everyone’s behavior changes with familiarity, but if your future mate, work partner, client, or boss doesn’t treat you well before you agree to the commitment, it is going to go downhill after you commit.

The door closes from both sides--you can close it as well at the person on the other side.

The door closes from both sides–you can close it as well at the person on the other side.

Often, when we want the job, the guy (or girl), the friend, we deny our own wants and goals and give them up in order to get that short-term goal. “So what if this deal has some thorns?” we think. “Even roses have thorns,” we reason. “And I sure want that armload of roses to carry down the runway.” And then comes the job offer or the class or the friendship, and we are so blinded with the short-term victory, we miss the opportunity to ask ourselves if this behavior is really OK with us. Most often, it isn’t OK. And it’s not a runway, it’s a long hard road and the petals fall off the roses and we are carrying an armful of thorns.

But that short-term victory is huge and ego-inflating.  And right after that, when we want respect, it’s not there. We’ve signed the contract, accepted the lower pay, given up what we really wanted and it’s not going to come your way now. Negotiations are over. Work has started. You have settled for less than you wanted, and you will not get that upgrade. Why should they? You voluntarily gave up your values to get the short-term rush of pleasure. When it fades, the rest of the duration will look bleak.

You may have to open your own window to let a fresh breeze blow in.

You may have to open your own window to let a fresh breeze blow in.

Know your values and stick to them. Your values make up your character, your spine, your self-worth. Give it up to someone and they won’t give it back anytime soon.

Jim Rohn got it just right when he said: “If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.”

If you read the blog regularly, a few weeks ago I had a post that asked “Is it a book?” the answer is it will be a book, but it will be someone else’s book. Not mine. And now that I’ve looked over the values I cherish, I’m just fine with it. No hard feelings on my part, wishing the author much success. My inner critic is screaming at me, “You lost the opportunity to go with a huge publishing company! Are you nuts?” But away from the closing door, the Holder of Deep Values (one of my inner heroes) is opening the window and saying, “Be glad. You did not give up what is important to you, and that is always up to you to choose, decide and protect.”

–Quinn McDonald is seeing a door close and is waiting for the window to open. She trusts the wisdom of the Holder of Deep Values.



25 thoughts on “Before You Commit

  1. Quinn, I so honor your integrity and your commitment to “what is right.” If only we could all hold to these values – a different world, yes?
    Thank you for writing about your struggles and your steadfast faith in yourself. Your blog is an inspiration and a touchstone.

  2. It is hard to let go of something that we had thought was right, even though somewhere within us we knew it was not a good fit for us. Having the courage to walk away and then actually go through with it, now that is huge. I applaud your courage to do what you knew was right for you.

    • Timing is everything. And so is keeping your values. You don’t know how close I came to doing what seemed important. It wasn’t so much ethics as values–not so much right and wrong but what was right for me the way I see the world.

  3. this is so very true. I have had to withdraw from things that I committed to and have realized it’s not fair to either side. I’ve also turned down things that I felt would not be beneficial to me. I’m the type of person who likes to help, to say yes when asked to do something, but I’m learning I can’t be that person any longer. I’m glad I read this post – it was a confirmation of what I am learning in my own life.

  4. Printing this out. I may end up pulling this out and re-reading from time to time, because it is so easy to forget this in the rush of a potential “success.”

    • For me, a lot of it is that external validation that I AM a [good, successful, worthwhile] [fill in the blank–writer, artist, solopreneur]. And the life I have chosen is not one of external validation, so it’s a lot of struggle.

  5. Words from you today are exactly, precisely what was needed to come to me, now and later, as well. A huge thank you for clearly writing about one of the challenges that so often will take us on a less than positive side trip.

  6. I have decided to print and keep this one as a reference. If we find ourselves worthy, trust our judgement, and live a life that speaks with honesty and kindness each day, we have achieved.

  7. Good advice. It is often a tough pill to swallow, but it is true. I often give my own kids that advice, especially with relationships. If it is not making you happy now, it won’t make you happy later either. See you soon!

  8. Very valid words for a Sunday morning, after the super moon! I needed to hear these words and I feel that you needed to acknowledge them to your audience. Very well said. And I like the Holder of Deep Values!

      Shari Adkisson  aka TXCreatrix aka Wyld Womyn Nrrd

    Work Like You Don’t Need the Money, Dance Like No One Is Looking and Love Like You Have Never Been Hurt!

    • It’s hard to stand up for your values, when those values are deeply held but not popular. Almost everyone, particularly clients and bosses, will frame their viewpoint as the popular, well-understood, reasonable one. “Industry standard” is a tip-off.

  9. Well said. Those words are what we should live by although it is hard sometimes, but when you do, embrace it with both arms outstretched.

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