“Excuses are nails that build the house of failure.”
I first heard this phrase from my ex-manager and good friend many years ago. Of course, she would always use it in the context of work, though it’s fair to say that said context had to do with meeting a big goal and any push back that was provided by one of us as to why it couldn’t be done. Why the request was unreasonable. All of the ways our brains were telling us that it couldn’t be done.
Yet somehow, we always managed to make it happen, meeting or exceeding her original vision.
What do you do in your life when you don’t have an amazing leader encouraging you to push your boundaries? How good are you at leading yourself and managing the push back from your own mind when you want to stretch outside of your comfort zone?
This is going to tie in to my previous post, What’s Your Story? Because often the story we tell ourselves about all of the things that have ‘happened to’ us have morphed into becoming full blown characteristics that we have subconsciously applied to our existence. We then offer up these bogus characteristics with ease as a default excuse for not moving forward.
We combine this with the “motivational triad” that I have touched on before and will continue to do so because it plays such an integral role in our daily decision-making that we need to apply focused awareness to it at all times. The motivational triad exists in the most primitive part of our brains and is constantly presenting itself to do the following essential functions: seek pleasure, avoid pain, conserve energy.
It really is another way to view survival instinct. Centuries ago, humans could not have survived if we didn’t procreate, stay safe from predators, and (in order to stay safe) hide in the cave until it was time to hunt or gather. Conserving energy meant that the ability to run hard and fast when needed would be stored up and ready to ignite.
It’s important to understand that both the motivational triad and the stories we’ve been telling ourselves over our lifetime play integral roles in our motivation to change. Those two concepts combine to create a force to be reckoned with when it comes to making a big shift in your perspective and ability to believe that you can make the radical change in your life that you crave. If your belief system is built on a shitty foundation of stories you are telling yourself about why you can’t then you most certainly won’t. If you want change, you need to eliminate the word can’t from your vocabulary immediately. You have no idea how powerful the words in your own mind are when it comes to motivating yourself to take action.
What to you really want to accomplish? Are you living your dreams right now or are you supporting someone else’s? How often are you experiencing joy and a deep realization of self-worth in your daily life? Are you setting big goals and crushing activities that support them daily or are you hitting snooze and telling yourself that you’ll start on Monday?
Every excuse is a nail.
Let’s look at the big three to start with. We’ll scratch the surface here and then I’ll take a deeper dive into each topic over the coming weeks.
- I don’t have time. This is at the top of everyone’s list and I promise that whether you’re the CEO of a major company full of adults who depend on you for their livelihood or the CEO of a household full of young humans that depend on you for their hierarchy of essential needs, there is time to be found. There are so many time-killers built in to our daily activities that we don’t even realize are there until we take the steps to really look at how we are living. The simplest thing to do is to start with your smart phone and monitor the hours you’re wasting away on social media, email, and texting (because using our smart phone as a phone and having basic human connection by voice is the last option). That alone will blow your damn mind. You can find the time, and if your life depended on it, in the depths of your soul, you know that you would.
- I don’t have the money. I get it. I really do. I have been there. At one point, I worked two full time jobs simultaneously just to make ends meet, fell into bed at 5:00 am and was clocking in at noon for the next round, five days per week for two years straight. When the weekend rolled around, all I wanted to do was sleep. I’ll never get those two years of my life in my 20’s back. When I realized that I owed $2K in taxes after all of that sacrifice and was still making minimum payments on my debts, I had to shift that shit. I let go of my stringent belief that hard work was the only way out, filed for bankruptcy, and found another way. I left both jobs for a new one that payed the same and started to find other ways to elevate my game. Seems simple enough on the surface, but I really had to shift my mindset to get out of a rut that was taking me nowhere fast. There are entire courses around money mindset, but you have to do your research and be smart about what you invest in. There are so many alternative ways to create more financial abundance in your life, you’d be blown away if you open yourself up to them.
- I don’t know how. This one just might be my favorite of all because it’s conceivable I may have spent the most time in this realm. Confusion, doubt, uncertainty. In coaching circles, we refer to these feelings as indulgent emotions. It’s often hard to accept confusion as an indulgence in concept, but in fact it is when you consider how your brain works. Let’s go back to that motivational triad for second. It’s much easier to keep doing the same thing that you’ve always done because it’s what you know. It’s what brings comfort. It’s safe. I’ve compared the human brain to a powerful computer before (and of course, I’m not the first to do that), but if we think in terms of efficiency, it’s so much easier to keep doing what we have become proficient at doing than it is to learn new things. It’s super uncomfortable to stretch outside of that zone of comfort. Change is hard. Telling yourself, “I’ll just stay right here [in my cave/cocoon],” is so much easier. As long as you aren’t forced to change by an external source, it’s certainly preferable to stay with what you do know.
Now, all of these big categories I’ve just given you, I’m sure you can identify with if that’s your choice. That’s what I really want to be your primary takeaway from this teaser of a post. Ultimately, that’s what it is: a teaser. Because I’m going to keep building and expanding upon a house of success that I plan to share. Your takeaway? That it’s your choice to stay stuck. It’s your choice to not take action toward achieving your dreams. If you don’t have a solid mentor in your life, driving you to stretch yourself, constantly challenging you to go big or go home, then you become that person. Light that fire within you and shine.
Eliminate the excuses from your mental dialogue and you will remove all limits to what you can achieve.
Replace the rusty nails with the rays of light that will be your greatest accomplishments.
photo credit: PeterThoeny Mindful walk via photopin (license)
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