‘No More Excuses!’

“It’s not the right time.
I’m too old / too young.
I don’t have the necessary qualifications yet.
I wouldn’t be able to do it properly.”

Do any of these excuses sound familiar?  And if they do, how do they affect you, your life, your career?
Are you moving forward confidently, happy with the progress you’re making in all areas of your life, or are you feeling frustrated and confined because you’re not able to take that jump and do what you really do want to be doing?

Our lives are the product of the choices we make each day.  By saying ‘yes’ to certain things we create the circumstances of our lives.

By making excuses  – which effectively is saying ‘no’ – we do the same thing, and that’s fine if we’re saying ‘no’ to extra work that would keep us away from our family, or situations that would not be beneficial to us.

But it’s not fine if the ‘no’ is keeping us in a job we detest, a relationship we tolerate at best, or a comfort zone that has become too narrow and restricted for us now.

Take a moment to think about the choices you have made and ones you’re thinking of making, and how they have or will impact on the rest of your life.

What have you made excuses not to do and then regretted?  What are you thinking of saying ‘no’ to and is it really what you do want to say deep down?   Are you holding yourself back in a particular area?

 ”Everything you want is out there waiting for you to ask.
 Everything you want also wants you.
 But you have to take action to get it.”
 Jack Canfield.

So you’ve made all your excuses, you’re no doubt annoyed with yourself for having done so.  What can you now do to change those ‘no’s’ into positive action?  Take a look at the following exercises and see if you can turn your life around.
Coaching Clinic – Exercise

1a Are you making excuses for not doing something because it seems too big and too daunting?
 Question:  How do you eat an elephant?
 Answer:     One bite at a time.

Take a look at this ‘elephant’ you’re confronting.  What would one bite look like to you?
Perhaps it would involve contacting someone you’ve been avoiding, making ten sales calls, setting aside specific time to finish / start a project.  Whatever it might be, make it something you know you can do.  After all, there’s no point in setting yourself up to fail, and with each successful ‘bite’ you gain the confidence to take on more.

But be careful – It’s important to find a balance between the challenges you take on and your ability to meet those challenges.  Too much challenge and you slip into panic, anxiety and overwhelm and then start finding excuses.  Too little challenge and you slide into boredom, apathy and depression and even more excuses. 
So know yourself.  Only do what you can manage and what will take you closer to your goal.

 

1b Notice how you’re thinking about your challenge.

Do you picture it or feel it a certain way?  Once you’re aware of how you perceive it, shrink the image, lessen the intensity of the feeling and as you do so, you should notice the reason for you finding it daunting in the first place starts to diminish.

Then replace the negative feelings you previously associated with it, with positive ones.  Start gathering evidence to prove that you really can do it:
 ’I know I can do this …….  because Joe Bloggs has done it and I
 have better skills than he does.’

See yourself succeeding and affirm it to yourself daily because whatever your conscious mind thinks, the subconscious sets out to prove.

 

2 Are you making excuses because you’re afraid of failure or even of success?

When you’re buying a newspaper or magazine, do you ever notice which one you’re initially drawn to?  Isn’t it true to say that it’s the one with the most sensational headline that catches your eye?

Just as newspaper editors exaggerate news items to get attention, we do the same thing in our lives.  Perhaps it’s to get attention from others, perhaps it’s to make ourselves feel better because we’re doing so much that we must be very important or extremely necessary. 
Perhaps it’s an excuse to never have to try so we never risk failing or doing so well that we can’t handle the pressure.
Whatever the reason might be, the fact is that reality is unlikely to be quite so colourful / big / sensational as we make out.

So take a good look at your life, particularly the areas where it’s not going quite right and notice the reasons or excuses you’re making to yourself:

 ’I couldn’t possibly take that promotion because it has the potential
 to be very demanding’
 (ie. I’m afraid I’ll succeed and won’t be able to cope with all the extra
 work)
‘The new role will involve giving lots of presentations so I don’t really want it ‘
 (ie. I’m afraid I’ll make a fool of myself)

Which are the actual facts and which are simply beliefs?

Separate fact from fiction.  Get rid of the exaggeration, the sensationalism and work only with the facts.

Fear, when confronted, usually turns out to be a lot smaller than it first appeared.
3 Are you making excuses because you really need help or support?

‘You can’t do it all yourself.
Don’t be afraid to rely on others to help you accomplish your goals.’
Oprah Winfrey.

If you feel completely daunted at the prospect of what you need to do and as a result are finding excuses not to do it, build your own support team – coach, mentor, teacher, trainer, financial adviser, legal adviser etc.

Who would you put in each role?  Use them!

You get no medals for struggling on alone, or worse still, not attempting at all.

Whatever your excuses, look beneath them to the core of the issue and deal with it in a positive way rather than holding onto the excuses.
Then notice your life take off!

I’d be very interested to hear where you have held yourself back in the past  and how you managed to overcome all the excuses you made at the time.

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2 Responses to “‘No More Excuses!’”

  1. Bobby says:

    Hi,
    I always hold myself back for some reason. I wont say I am a choker but I tend to choke in some easy situations which not only has negative consequences but is really more embarassing. I mean If I choked in high pressure situations, i would not feel as bad as If I choked in low pressure ones.

    Another thing I lack is having a reward system. My parents never trained me in having one and it really affects me.

    Lastly, I have a poor support system. I used to have but I just moved into another town and my family is not very supportive. I am single and I run a small company so I am basically the boss and I cant expect my employees to take care of me.

    Any info on being a better man will be greatly appreciated

  2. Sharon says:

    Hi and thank you for your reply to my article.
    Many apologies for not having got back sooner.

    You mention several issues all of which need to be looked at more closely in order to see a way forward. The main obstacle seems to be your sense of self-confidence – belief in your ability to do well, belief in your sense of worth, but without knowing more it’s tricky to suggest a solution that will work for you.

    I offer a 30 minute free consultation over the phone if you would like to do that? You could give me more detail and we could take it from there?

    Do let me know if you’d like to. Phone numbers are on the website.

    Thanks and best wishes
    Sharon

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