How to Master the Art of Commitment and Surrender

How to Master the Art of Commitment and Surrender

by Janelle Morrison

The Equation

It’s June of  2009, and I’m sitting outside on a striped lawn chair, eating corn on the cob as the sun goes down. It’s my my last day of teaching and I’m at an “End of the Year BBQ” for teachers.  Most are coming back in September.  I’m not.

I’ve just sold my home, given up a stable paycheque, pension and medical/dental plan. I’m also moving in 3 weeks.  I’m going to be a professional Ironman triathlete.

I’m having a conversation with the husband of the teacher whose classroom was across from mine all year, sharing with him the new adventure I’m going on. When I finish he says, “Be prepared for it to be nothing like what you expect it to be.”

I feel resistance.  My inner dialogues says, “What do you mean? I’m committed and determined!  I’m sure it will all go as planned.”  I also know…he could be right.

Its now 2013.  I’m sitting at my kitchen table the morning after a DNF at an Ironman triathlon.  I’ve continually been dealing with injuries since coming back to racing after after a near-fatal car accident shortly after I began racing full-time.

Doctors and surgeons continue to remark that it’s a miracle I’m racing again, especially at the elite level, but for me at in this moment, I’m sitting with my half eaten bowl of porridge, still in my pyjamas, disappointed and frustrated with life for being “so unfair.”

I think to myself, “Doesn’t  life know how committed I am?  How hard I’m working?  How I’m doing everything I possibly can?  And here I am injured…again.

I open an email from my coach, Mark Allen.  It it he’s written the following equation:

 Total Commitment + Total Surrender = Great Significance.

My response is both of annoyance and wonder.  “Seriously, Mark?  How am I supposed to commit and surrender at the same time?  This sounds like crazy talk.”  Yet as skeptical and irritated as I am, I know there’s  gold in what he’s shared.  Somewhere.  So I keep digging…


Most of you reading are probably very familiar,  and even comfortable, with the word “commitment.”   You learned in the early years of grade school that commitment moves you past challenges to reach a goal.  Commitment is what makes sure you do what it takes. It’s when you plant the flag for how things are going to be.

The bottom line is that when you master the art of commitment, anything becomes possible. When you choose, and commit to, running a marathon in under 3.5 hours, you can.  When you choose to, and commit to taking 8 weeks off vacation this year from work, you can.  When you choose, and commit to, completing a project by a specific deadline, you can.

Being committed works!  Most of the time. And sometimes it doesn’t.

There’s a lot of material out there on how to create a committed mindset and it’s a topic that comes up for many of the individuals I work with.  Life has all sorts of unexpected circumstances that can knock any one of us off our game – at any time.

Sometimes no matter how hard you try, how committed you are, or how much work you put into something, it doesn’t go to plan. You may get injured, sick or have a life circumstance happen that knocks you down.  And when that happens – how do you respond?

Most of us respond, naturally, with frustration that it didn’t work, impatience that it’s taking so long, or fear that it will never happen.  Looking more closely, we can see that we’re more attached to how we want things to be, than we arecommitted.

Consider what would be possible if you were to envision a goal you have for yourself clearly (such as a goal you have for the Victoria Marathon) and take committed steps every day that are aligned to that vision.  Total commitment.

Then consider if you were to let go of the expectations of how it’s supposed to go, or even be.  What if you were to commit to a goal and surrender to the process, and even the outcome?


“Surrender?” you say. “Isn’t that a dirty word?  One that means to raise the white flag, submit and give up?  Isn’t that what we’re taught “not” to do  That seems like a really stupid idea.”   Surrender is not about giving up on a goal.

Surrender is giving up on how you think it’s all supposed to go.

Surrender is trusting in the bigger picture.

Surrender is listening to the signs being shown in the moment.

Surrender is being open to another way, a better way that you didn’t previously see.

Surrender is knowing that everything is perfect just as it is.

When you surrender, you let go of the heaviness of expectation, and attachment to a result,  which is what takes out the flow of the experience, making it hard You allow, instead, for lightness, playfulness, curiosity, and insignificance.

How much more would you be capable of if you brought this kind of ease into the journey as you move, every day, towards the vision you have for yourself of racing in the 2017 Victoria Marathon – or anything else important in your life?

Total Commitment + Total Surrender = Great Significance

5 Essentials to Mastering the Art of Commitment and Surrender

1.) Envision and declare your goal. If you want to run a marathon in a certain time, see yourself doing it.  Feel it in your body.  Hear the sounds as you do it.  Tap the future experience into the cells of your body – today.

2.)  Take action every day to get to your goal.  If you want to run a marathon in your best time – you need to do the work!  Choose how you’re going to work intelligently. Hire a good coach, do the training every day without “excuses”, get proper rest, eat well, get new running shoes regularly, etc.

3.) Align to what’s needed in the moment.  For example: You have a hard training run and wake up that morning with a sore throat.  What does commitment do?  Does it “power” on through, attached to things going exactly to plan?  Or does it take care of what’s needed in the moment, while being deeply committed?

4.)  Listen and pay attention.  Stay alert and open to the signs that are pointing to a better and easier way.

5.) Let go of attachment to an outcome.  Trust that your committed actions are taking you directly to your goal – or something even better that you didn’t expect.

Practice the steps of commitment and surrender. You’ll not only find yourself enjoying the journey towards your chosen destination, but you’ll go above and beyond what you ever thought possible, in ways you never could have expected.

Be prepared to amaze yourself.


Written by Janelle Morrison, a GameChanger, Consultant, Transformational Speaker and Life Quality Catalyst.

Racing as a professional Ironman distance triathlete, and overcoming seemingly insurmountable odds along the way after a near-fatal car accident, Janelle required a tool box of determination, courage and audacious commitment. Janelle knows what it takes to achieve the “impossible.” She also knows that results, finish lines and accolades don’t equate to self-worth, peace of mind or fulfillment.

Janelle believes that we all deserve a quality of life that lights us up from the inside out – and that we are all capable of achieving it. We ARE it. In this moment, and the moment after that. Check out her