There are so many excuses that keep us from moving forward: “I want to make sure it is just right,” or “I need more time to develop skills,” or “The timing isn’t quite right.” These excuses hide our fear of change and of stepping outside our comfort zone. We try to protect ourselves against all possible negative outcomes before moving forward, leaving us stuck.
Common excuses and their antidotes:
- It isn’t perfect. NOTHING IS EVER PERFECT!!! There are always imperfections, always something to be fixed. And that’s okay. If we wait around until we have made it perfect, we will continue to fix tinier and tinier flaws, forever. How do we let this go? Accept good enough. Set the priorities and the deal breakers and leave the rest alone. We can easily be distracted by the minutia. Instead, we should focus on the intention or the larger picture. What are you trying to do? Do that and don’t worry about the tiny details.
- I’m not skilled enough. Too often, I see talented people take class after class before they actually do something. I need this certification or another class to teach me how to grow my business, make a quilt, etc. This tendency can lead to a ton of knowledge with no execution of any of the ideas. In truth, unless there are specific legal requirements or a certification process that hinders you from starting early, you can learn more about how to do something by doing it. Grow you confidence through action, whenever you can. Know your strengths and utilize them. I’m not saying that you should never take a class or increase your skill level. I’m just saying, don’t use it as an excuse to stay stuck at start.
- It isn’t the right time. Even if you start off well, things can change. Life is unpredictable. Yet so often, I hear people waiting for that perfect time to start something that they really want to do. Timing is complicated – you want to be thoughtful about it and not set yourself up for failure, but you can’t indefinitely wait for a perfect time. If you are sufficiently (not perfectly) prepared and there are no gigantic conflicts (holidays, vacations, etc.) go ahead and just START! Work to plan for the success of starting right now, rather than list all the possible reasons it won’t work. If what you are embarking upon is important, you will make the necessary trade offs (moving and cancelling less important stuff) to make sure it happens.
- I might fail. Of course you could fail, but you will definitely fail if you don’t try. So many people get stuck worried about failure without really looking at what that means. Figure out what the worst case scenario is if you fail. Short of dying or becoming totally destitute, usually the negative outcomes are completely surmountable. Facing the worst case scenario (and having a plan to overcome it) can make stepping out into the unknown just a bit easier.
- I might succeed. Now this is an interesting one. It would make sense that we set out to succeed. But sometimes that very success terrifies us. There are a lot of different reasons for this. Success could mean lifestyle changes: If I am successful, I will have to do this and this which will conflict with my favorite class or I may have to do something different permanently. Other reasons are more emotional: a fear that you don’t deserve the success and that you will be found out as a fraud. To diminish this fear, remind yourself not to count your eggs before they hatch. If you succeed, trust that you will work things out at that time. If you succeed, you will move forward with your skills and do the best that you can. Now, if you truly don’t believe you deserve any of the success you get – find someone you trust (or a therapist) who you can talk to. You are amazing and deserve positive things to come into your life! Don’t let the fear of success stop you.
- I don’t feel ready. When all other excuses go away, there is the nondescript: “I just don’t feel ready.” Whether this is due to full blown panic or just discomfort with trying something new, it is fear. When we are asked to step outside of our comfort zone, our natural instincts will be to shut down, run away, or fight back. We like things to be predictable. So, when you are faced with doing something different, breathe. Don’t expect to feel comfortable, don’t wait to feel totally confident. Step forward and cope with your feelings. Once you accomplish your task, you will feel better (even if it is only because it’s over).
What excuses do you use? Share some in the comments below!
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