Robin Clark | Bay Area Coach & Photographer for Women » Coach & Photographer for Women

On Flakiness

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Can we take a moment to talk about flakiness?

Things like…

  • Chronically showing up late.
  • Habitually under-estimating your timelines when making plans.
  • Last minute texts (or no text at all!) to bag out of plans.
  • Making agreements and not honoring them.
  • Making plans and not showing up for them.
  • Owing others money and not paying when you say you will.
  • Putting out invitations and not following up.
  • RSVPing for events, classes, workshops, parties, etc. you don’t actually intend to attend.
  • Ditching others with when something better shows up.

And so on.

I don’t say this to launch into a Missy Talk. I’m as guilty of said behaviors as anyone. So it’s definitely not “shame on you.” But more like:

Is this who you want to show up and be known as in the world? 

Is this really where the power of your word is at?

I think we can do better than this.

And yes, we each… Have full lives. (Though we are trying to tone down the cult of busy, right?) Are holding a wide spectrum of things both internally and externally. Are human and part of that is human error.

But this isn’t an excuse to operate as beings whose word has little integrity.

Our words – both literally the words we speak as well as the expression of how we live – give us power or take our power away. How do you want your words and your actions to make you feel?

Uplifted, confident, calm, centered, empowered. Of course.

But operating in a scattered, rushed, flaky way – where you feel anxious, preoccupied, and bad about the things you’re letting fall through the cracks and where others are annoyed, hurt, and/or disappointed by your actions – is one way we subconsciously reinforce feeling insecure and crappy about ourselves. This can also break trust, create distance in relationships, and make you and others feel disrespected. And it can become a vicious loop because when you feel insecure you’re more likely to seek approval from others, operate as a people pleaser, and make agreements that aren’t true for you that you later flake on.

Point in case: I flaked on someone earlier today right in the middle of writing this article! I had made an agreement to meet with someone that I cancelled a few hours ahead of time. She then set a clear boundary that she wasn’t available for this. I felt like a jerk. But considering the highly synchronistic timing with this post, I asked myself is – what did I learn? 

This:

That the solution to not flaking is simple but not necessarily easy. It’s to slow down, be honest with yourself about what you’re truly available for emotionally, logistically, and financially, and cultivate the vulnerability and confidence to clearly communicate this with others. 

For me, if I had checked in with myself I would not have made the initial agreement because I don’t have space to take on extra non-client projects right now. But because I didn’t check in with myself, I wasn’t clear on my yes (taking care of what I’ve already agreed to) so I didn’t say the no I needed to say to this meeting to honor my greater yes. As a result, I overextended myself and then ended up flaking. Lesson (gradually, yet steadily) being learned.

So, again, it really comes down to this:

Slow down. Clarify what you’re truly available for. Use your word powerfully to express this.

Aaannndd…

If resistance and sabotage are players in your life (as they are in nearly everyone’s), get educated about this (like herehere & here), and take active steps to reclaim your authority from these influences.

Feeling especially bold? Make an experiment for a set period of time (a week or month) to do something like… Consistently be on time. Gulp! Or, only agree to what you’re sure is a 100% yes for you. Or, take 30-60 minutes a day to do something you’ve been meaning to do that you keep flaking out on with yourself (art, meditation, exercise… you know what it is.) Just imagine what you might learn about yourself!

Becoming more proficient.