We all have what seems like exquisitely great reasons for why we feel stuck or are unable to move forward in some way. And the more we allow these stories to run rampant, the more they become self fulfilling prophecies.
But if we slow down and listen to what that voice in our head is saying, we can consciously question the excuses we are making. (and we all make excuses so don’t beat yourself up about this…)
Excuses make us the victim of the situation.
And they usually start the same basic way…
“I can’t because…”
“I would, except…”
and “Once I’ve…”
Anytime you hear yourself thinking something starting with those words, you are lying to yourself. You are making excuses and falling victim to your stories.
And when you feel like a victim of your circumstances, your energy is quickly drained and you do what your primal outdated instincts tell you to do…you shut down.
And that is, in my opinion, why we need to question and then own our excuses. We need to rephrase them in a more honest way that might even empower us.
Let’s say, your excuse is that you need to keep your day job.
“I can’t start directing because I need to keep my day job.”
First you replace “I can’t” with “I won’t” and then see if you are still on board with the truth.
So, the above excuse becomes the statement, “I won’t start directing because I need to keep my day job”. How does that feel? It may be true that yes, you need the money to feel secure and to have your needs met. Or maybe this statement allows to you set a more aggressive savings strategy so you can plan to quit your day job sooner than you think.
More importantly, do you see how owning the truth is more empowering? You are taking responsibility for your decisions. You are in charge.
What if your excuse is “I would, except I don’t have enough time.” (Not having enough time and money are the biggest excuses and they are both total horseshit. I dedicated an entire chapter in my book, “Crafting a Better Life”, to the lack of time excuse.)
A more honest statement might be, “I won’t because I don’t want to: miss my show, get up early, rearrange my schedule, miss happy hour, go out in the rain, spend more money, sit in traffic…etc. Do you hear yourself making excuses like that?
“Once I’ve…” is trickier because sometimes the timing isn’t right for us to take action yet. But even then, you can make a more honest decision. True, maybe you can’t start working as a real estate agent until you are fully licensed. But, you CAN spend some time on Sundays going to open houses and observing how other agents pitch their houses to prospective buyers. There is always SOMETHING you can do to move you forward.
Jane Goodall didn’t wait to become a scientist (women didn’t have the option for college back then) to study the chimps in Africa.
Nelson Mandella used his time in jail to become the leader he would need to be once he was eventually freed from prison. If anyone had an excuse to sit around and feel sorry for themselves it was him!
“Where there’s a will there’s a way” is not a cheesy catch phrase. It is the truth.
So…what’s your excuse? Start listening in to what you’re saying to yourself. Start paying attention to when you tell your friends you “can’t”, “would”, or “once I’ve” and question the validity of that. Then either own your excuses or take action. Pivot out of victim mode and put yourself in the driver’s seat of your life. The star in the movie of your life should be YOU, not your circumstances.
If this is an area you need help with get in touch and we’ll decode your thoughts together.
And as always, retweet, repost, and forward this to your friends.