What's Your Excuse?
Let's say there is something you really want to do. It can
be something big like moving to another part of the country
or something small like taking an hour of time several times
a week to pursue a hobby. The key point is it is something
you've been saying you want to do for a period of time but
haven't gotten around to doing it. It's a pattern. To the
point that every time you start the sentence "I'd really love
to play the piano again" you flow right into your list of
excuses on autopilot "but I can't take time away from my family"
or "it's a silly idea because I'm too old", etc.
Now, you may be saying that you don't use excuses and you
only have valid reasons for why you "can't" do what you say
you want to do. After all, excuses are for more irresponsible
type people and that is certainly not you.
Well, if there's something you say you want to do, but continually
have a reason why you don't do it; there are only 2 possible
explanations for that:
1) You do not really want to do what you say you do but you
either continue to say you do out of habit or because you
think you "should" want to do it.
2) You really do want to do what you say you do. But, it is
risky, forces you to step outside your comfort zone, or might
upset someone you care about.
If the answer to your scenario is #1, then by all means stop
saying that it is something you want to do. Let it go. Bring
some closure to the darn thing and it'll free your mental
and emotional space so you can pursue something you truly
do want to do.
If the answer for you is #2 then most likely you are using
an excuse that allows you to hang onto your desire and provide
a logical reason why you can't do it thereby keeping you safe
and still yearning.
What do excuses sound like? Just in case you haven't heard
the crate full you probably carry around in your head everyday,
here's a list of some of the most common ones:
- I'm too dumb/too smart
- No one will like/love me
- I'm not good enough
- It's too far from home
- I don't have enough money for that
- No time
- No one can have it all
Do any of these sound familiar?
We wouldn't use excuses if they didn't serve us in some way.
It's hard to dig a little deep and admit that, but otherwise
why would we use them? Simply to torture ourselves?
Some of the benefits I have found from using excuses are:
- It allows me to be right about myself (example: "See, I
told you I wasn't good enough!")
- Keeps me safe
- Keeps me stuck (so I can complain & commiserate with others)
- It's familiar
After all, it is easier to go with the flow, maintain the
status quo, and turn down the volume on the things we truly
desire especially when they might be a hair different than
the majority of people we come in contact with and the "societal
norm". At least it seems easier, but it comes at a cost and
that cost can be anything from lack of fulfillment and spark
in our lives all the way to depression or disease.
The first key to busting your excuses is to identify them
and then understand the payoff you're getting from using them.
1) List 3 things you regularly say you want to have or do.
2) List the reason(s) you tell yourself and others as to why
you cannot have nor do those things.
3) Apply the test earlier in this article to determine if
you do indeed really want what you say you want or not.
a. If the answer is no - then by all means let it go.
b. If the answer is yes….keep reading.
Once you've established your list of what you really do want
and the excuses you use for not having or doing it, it's time
to delve into and identify your payoff for not getting what
1) Make a list of all the "bad" things you fear might happen
if you were to take the risk to get what you want. Be totally
honest and cover all the bases including the absolute worst
case scenario you can imagine. (for example: if I move across
the country, my family will no longer love me or come to see
2) Look at your list from the last step and rate each one
in terms of how likely your fear would really happen using
a scale of 1 (not likely) to 5 (absolutely certain).
What you'll find is that it is pretty unlikely that something
horrible is going to happen if you do what you want to do.
And, if something unexpected or unwanted does occur, trust
that you'll find a way to handle it.
So, make that list of things you really want to do and create
a plan, including lining up any support or resources you may
need, for making it happen not "someday" but today.
Paula Gregorowicz and The Paula G Company specialize
in helping stressed out and overwhelmed women business owners
achieve more success without all the burnout and compromise.
Author of the burnout busting eCourse "Nip Burnout in the
Bud" available at www.avoidburnoutnow.com
. Paula offers free help through her free newsletter at www.thepaulagcompany.com/newsletter.shtml
. To learn more and download the FREE REPORT: "Top 10 Causes
of Burnout and How to Avoid Them", visit her website at www.thepaulagcompany.com
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