Last weekend I met a good friend Mariellen for tea. She was still telling me that she was just about to get her new business launched, something I had heard for several years. I waited to hear her latest excuse.
Over the years I’d heard lots of reasons or excuses from Mariellen. She didn’t have the money. The time wasn’t right; she was too busy. She was afraid she’d fail at it. Her kids needed her. Her parents needed her. She needed new headshots, but she had to lose weight first. She couldn’t launch without the website being ready. The photos of her work weren’t good enough and she needed a new camera. She had just volunteered for a major project at the local art guild. She was clearly waiting for the stars to be aligned. Does that ever really happen?
Don’t get me wrong. I’ve been a master at excuses myself. At some point, thought, I decided the excuses were, well, just excuses. And, frankly, I got tired of them. And, I’m pretty sure people who heard them were bored with them. If I wanted to get anything accomplished, I needed to do something about it.
What I discovered was that I wasn’t tired of the successes I would have when I gave up the excuses. Big or small, they were exhilarating. I could see progress and that energized me and spurred me on. It was the commitment I made to myself that was key.
Getting past excuses
Here are some simple ideas that may help you to move beyond excuse-ing?
Become aware that you are using excuses.
Look at the excuse and try to see what’s behind it. Ask yourself if the excuse is even true. Do you really need a new camera to take better shots of your artwork, or are you afraid of putting yourself out there?
The thing about holding onto your excuses is that if you believe your excuse and don’t take action, all the possibilities are still open. It’s only when you take action, that you risk failure.
Envision the outcome without the excuse getting in the way.
You may find that re-igniting your vision is enough to put away the excuses. At this point take just one step forward, like the Nike slogan. Just do it!
Reframe the excuse.
This is most effective if you find limiting beliefs. An example might be if you think you are too old to become a successful writer. You could reframe this to see how much life experience you have that will be beneficial. And look for examples of authors who got their start later in life. Millard Kaufman, who co-created the Mr. Magoo character, started his novel at the age of 86.
Find the motivation.
This could be internal or external. Internal might be the pride that you’ll feel after completing what the excuse is holding you back from. External could be doing this because of your family. You might even hold up a reward for yourself as motivation.
Do you want this year to be fulfilling or filled with tired, sad excuses again? It really is up to you!
What excuse or excuses are holding you back? Can you commit to giving them up?