Look behind the excuses, therein lies the answer
I’ve been in a funk. Not a big one and only for a short time, but I am officially admitting it to myself and calling it a funk.
It’s just one of those times in life when I let the gloomy weather affect my mood and feel less resilient to the daily stress that comes from balancing it all — a career and building a business, the long to-do list including a host of home and yard chores, relationships with lots of different people while balancing a long distance romantic relationship (lucky girl!), travel, future planning and dreaming, and of course, self care.
What happens when I get in this place is that I start to see excuses crop up for why something is the way it is, or why I can’t do/achieve something I want. Excuses are my clue that something is wrong and getting off track. And only I can right the ship.
Excuses sound like this. I don’t have enough money so I can’t start the business I really want and pursue my deepest passion. I can’t write a book or a full on coaching program right now because I don’t have the time, or a publisher, and I can’t manage and build two businesses at once. There isn’t enough money to do it all so I have to choose. I’m not good with business finances. Sound familiar?
My excuses used to be harsher and more self focused. I had every reason under the sun for why I couldn’t make myself a priority and focus on my own health and well being. In fact, I used my weight as an excuse for why everything was too hard and thus I couldn’t do it.
One example: My friend, Jim, used to encourage me to get out and walk to the end of the block. He asserted that I would feel better and after doing that for one week, I could go farther until I walked around the whole block. Of course, at the time, I didn’t listen. I wasn’t ready. And I had a host of excuses for why I couldn’t do this simple thing. I don’t have time. It’s too hard. My back hurts too much, and so on.
When it came to getting my diet under control and eating to lose weight, I explained that for me it was too hard: I’m a compulsive eater and food addict. I have a weird/slow metabolism. I don’t know how to cook. These excuses and more kept me from getting my eating under control until I ballooned to 381 pounds and nearly 63% body fat.
Since my transformation, I have learned to look at excuses differently.
We are all familiar with them. We all use them at times as a coping mechanism. And most of the time, we convince ourselves they really are obstacles. They are real. Sometimes, they are real in that they represent challenges or obstacles that we don’t readily know how to overcome. But that’s about the extent of it. More often then not, they are easy to hide behind.
I now view excuses as valuable information and insight. I don’t beat myself up for coming up with creative and convenient excuses, but I challenge myself to look behind the excuse for what I really, really want. Often, the excuse is the clue to the very thing that you want the most, and the very thing you are most afraid of. So I also challenge myself to find the hidden fear and bust through it. When you uncover those things and are willing to face it head on, you know you can beat it. It is the first step to a break through in getting what you really want.
One of the greatest gifts of my transformation is that I now know that excuses can indeed be the secret to your personal success. When you tackle the excuses (the obstacles you create for not doing something), you remove the obstacle and free yourself to go for it. Most often, when you do you will win, succeed, or at the very least, learn a lot about yourself.
That’s what I did to get healthy. That’s how I flipped from a life where I was not even in the picture to one where I am the center and the focus. But as I am learning, its not always easy to maintain this excuse free lifestyle. In the midst of life challenges, stress, etc. — because we are all imperfect beings — we create excuses or obstacles to make ourselves feel better and to mask our fear.
Are you brave enough to go deep and be an excuse buster?
I invite anyone who is reading this and nodding. Reading this and feeling stuck, or down, and who is ready to look honestly and authentically behind the excuses, to join me in this exercise this week.
I am writing down the list of ALL of my excuses as they come up for me in my day. Just noting them and logging them. Then I will smile. Because I realize that the obstacle that excuse represents is nothing more than an opportunity and my next challenge! And I will use that information to come up with a plan that includes creative ways to tackle the obstacle.
I now pride myself on figuring it out, pushing past any fear I have related to it, and going for it. When you do, when I do, good things happen…always. And I kinda think it’s fun!
Let me know what you think?
P.S. I created this gallery of some of my favorite motivational quotes around excuses. Some are fun and most are true! (Images pulled from the Web so forgive me if quotes are not soured correctly.)