How often do you find yourself coming up with a million reasons why you cannot get started? How easy is it to find plenty of excuses to put something off? We are experts at crafting stories about our own lives and why things do not work out. It is easy to accept a version of reality that is simply a tale we told our self so we didn’t have to dig deep and do something scary. What sort of life does that leave us with? One that is not terrible fulfilling I imagine. Perhaps it is the post holiday blahs or maybe new years resolutions starting to seem huge to people but I have been hearing a lot of excuses this week so I wanted to share my one sentence solution to laying them to the side.
Recently I attend a lot of networking events to meet new people and broaden my social circle. When I describe my career path, and the types of things being a life coach entails, I find that people tune in and listen intensely. People see themselves when I describe the types of changes I bring to action in my own life and the lives of my clients. It is like I am describing a beverage and they have been walking in the desert. They have want in their eyes. Sometimes they even remark simply: “Yeah…I want that.” People are even more excited to pick my brain for the best ideas to be taken from self development. This line of questioning often leads to me asking them what their goals are regarding their personal change, what sort of things keep them up at night, and really what they are using the tool of self development to obtain.The answers vary from feeling unfulfilled in their relationships to seeking balance during a time of transition. I have found that no matter the central issue, whenever people ask what they should do, there is a neat thing that occurs a vast majority of the time. When I inquire what steps they have already taken in the direction of their goal I am met with the same answer every time: “I want to but I dont have time.” “It is a lot of work, and I have this project due.” “If someone could just wave a wand and make it happen…” “I don’t think I can because…”
I hear a lot about what people are going to do tomorrow, after breakfast, when the time is right, when all the ducks are in a row. In other words I hear a mountain of excuses every single day. There are a million excuses to be found if you are actively looking for them. And those excuses root you to the current reality. They anchor your to average existence. If you do not attempt you cannot fail. There is comfort in that, I understand. The thing is there is never a perfect time and all the ducks are never in a row. So why are you waiting? Why are you making excuses? What is standing in your way of getting it? My guess is probably a stack of your excuses.
When I began to notice the barrage of excuses occurring I made it a point to follow up with those same people one month later. Inexplicably these people had not started toward their goal. They were exactly where they were as when I had inquired the first time. I found the prevalence of that to be scary. These people are all outwardly successful, driven individuals. As we delve into their reasons I noticed a few underlying trends. All of these people were experiencing paralysis by analysis, which seemed to stem from the fear of failing. These cases stood out to me not only because I was encountering so many but because the things holding these people back were purely internal. The only thing standing in their way was them. So this week I wanted to dive into how to stop making excuses and get on with it.(Whatever it is for you currently.) When we discuss the fear of failure we will almost always be talking about people who are successful. They go to work, pay their bills, finished college, they have a dog. By and large these folks take pride in what they have accomplished and devote a large amount of energy to maintaining that status. If their goal is a bit out of the norm they freeze up and fall into inaction. It is okay to talk about always having wanted to become a chef, or start a website or blog about music, but it is something else entirely to actually do it. There is something unique to successful people that paralyzes them when they begin to attempt things that may jeopardize that image of what success is. You can always find a reason not to pursue your dreams. We can rationalize and justify almost anything. These are just more stories we tell ourselves about our life. The only reason that is reality is because you want it to be.
So for today I wanted to share my single favorite method for tearing away excuses and diving into what you love. What i love about it is the simplicity. When I find myself surrounded my excuses about how much time I do not have or what I am going to start next week I ask myself one question: What is the worst things that could happen if you started right now? Odds are that the answer is nothing. The worst thing that could happen if i began right this second is that I would have begun. There is nothing huge to invest, the house isn’t going to catch on fire, I will have simply begun my project. That is it! And every step of the way I can modify that simple question to jump start me again. As you use this tool it becomes easier to see that the only thing that holds you back is yourself. It is okay to be afraid, it is okay to be terrified even, but it is not okay to become anchored to average because of it. Now get out there and kick twelve kinds of ass.