Do you believe in fate? I do. I believe that our steps are ordered and there’s a reason you are reading this article right here right now. We were destined to connect and here we are. Since you are here I believe that you, like me, are wondering if you could be doing more in your life, or if you are capable of all the responsibilities you have on your plate today.
Maybe you are on the cusp of making a big decision and you are wondering what to do. You know you can choose to push through fear and pursue your vision for your ideal life or you can stay where you are. The problem is you aren’t sure which will make you happy. You feel stuck. I’m here to help.
Pro Tip: If you are still having negative thoughts and wondering if you can do it, take time to notice if you are still allowing the excuses we’ve covered previously hold you back. Take time to review your Getting Unstuck: A Guide to Moving Your Career Forward to get your fight back and stop imposter syndrome from undermining your goals.
Remember getting unstuck is a state of mind. You’ll have to be on constant alert across all areas of your life to make sure you don’t let negative thoughts creep into your less conscious and take root in your mind undermining your goals. Instead, focus on identifying negative thoughts, then the next step is to take action and attack each excuse one-by-one. You are resilient, excuses will only suck your motivation and resolve. To help you get unstuck faster, watch out for these ten excuses I’ve seen chip away at self-esteem and confidence.
Can I tell you the hard truth? It’s normal to make excuses for why you haven’t achieved the level of success you’d hoped for or even let your mind dream of what could be possible if you tried your best. Excuses rationalize laziness, fear, and lack of knowledge. Blindly accepting negative, limiting beliefs breeds makes it easier to escape taking action. Excuses will convince you that your happiness and dreams are worth less than the dreams of others and that’s why you’re staying stuck.
ASK YOURSELF: Do you want to do better or do you want to celebrate the reasons you are failing?
Most of us have been creating go-to-excuses since childhood to avoid doing the things we don’t like. Remember Carl in Getting Unstuck: A Guide to Moving Your Career Forward?
Maybe you call in sick or have a relative who always gets ill when you want to leave work and avoid having to do your best. Whatever your excuse, you likely have a favorite. Be honest!
At one point I lost my vision while starting my career as a speechwriter (you can listen to the story here). How many excuses did I have? But instead of settling into the reasons my health could hold me back, I attacked each excuse and stayed motivated on my goal of advancing my career. The good news is, focusing on your goals and vision for success can help you notice the excuses that hold you back.
Here are my top ten excuses I hate to hear anyone use, including myself:
1. “I can’t” I hate, hate, hate, hate, hate to hear this. Seriously. And I don’t hate anything. If you’ve ever used this phrase to limit what you can do, ask yourself, why would you use your words to bind yourself by telling yourself you aren’t able to do. And even worse when you haven’t tried, why bother telling yourself to give up already. I hate to say it, but telling yourself what you can’t do is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard.
Consider the African proverb, “you learn to cut down trees by cutting down trees.”
You have to try. Start by doing your research. Google it. Whatever you want, someone has written an article to teach you from their experience. Don’t refuse to use the resources you have at your fingertips. At no time in the history of mankind has there been so much information available. Want to start a business? There are hundreds of courses, blogs, and podcasts on the subject. Ready to drop 10 lbs? There are plenty of free resources available to you starting with walking and drinking more water. The truth is, YOU CAN.
○ If you are stuck here, consider getting in-person help. When my coaching clients need an extra push we get on video chat. Sometimes you need the power of someone looking you in the face and telling you the steps you need to take to move forward. Don’t beat yourself up but make sure you’ve got all of your “I can’t” out of your system or else don’t tell them I sent you. It’s a waste of everyone’s time if you don’t believe you can make a change so take this seriously. The antidote is taking action and being open to change until you get it right.
2. “I’m scared.” Yes, I get it. When I lost my sight I was terrified. My vision went from double, to triple, to seeing four of everything. I wondered if I’d be able to see normally again. Soon I was scared to open my eyes in the morning because I was worried it would keep getting worse. You know what? IT DID. Fear kept me from going to the Doctor and what could’ve been resolved months earlier progressed into a serious condition.
Be careful! In the age of vulnerability, we all seem to feel better about letting fear be a factor in how we make decisions. We’ve all faced fear at some point in our lives that stopped others completely. Perhaps you know people who started school with you and never finished. While fear is common, it’s not usually justified. Whatever you’re afraid of is likely in your head. If you decide to overcome your excuse, you can.
○ Go back and read my article on overcoming fear. The short of it is, you can’t let fear stop you every time only in the most extreme circumstances. If it’s not truly life or death, let your fear go.
○ Do you want to be successful or protect your ego?
3. “I don’t have time.” You can’t really believe this right? You have the same amount of time in a day as Beyonce. Remember when months after she birthed twins she planned and performed at Coachella? Bloop! Next excuse!
Before you really try to blame lack of time make sure you are giving your all to being your most productive self. Implement the productivity tools you know you need to be successful. Get off social media. Turn off reality tv. Stop chatting on the phone and texting. You are in charge of your time. Stop giving your time away and invest it in the things you care about the most.
○ Be honest with yourself! Only you know where you can improve and focus your energy on what is important to you.
4. “I can’t afford it.” If you start hearing this excuse, add “yet” to the end of it. Don’t let your current situation limit your vision. You’re meant to experience abundance. Instead of limiting yourself to what you have, consider what it would take to close the gap and achieve what you want. Start by reading Rich Dad, Poor Dad to shift your financial mindset.
For example, if you’d like to learn to advance at work and earn more money but can’t afford a one-on-one coach, you could:
○ Sign up to for career resources and mailing lists like GettingUnstuckGuide.com
○ Read a book about the steps to starting a business like Side Hustle to Main Hustle by Angel N. Livas.
○ Ask a mentor or colleague about their experience, try watching Office Hours on Facebook Live Tuesdays at 2 pm EST/1 pm CST.
○ Find an educational program or course like my Emerging Thought Leaders program to give you the confidence to advocate for yourself and positioning yourself as an executive (click here for more information)
5. “I missed my chance.” Yikes, are you telling yourself that it’s too late? This one is a two-part issue-- the first part is that you have more than one chance. HELLO SOMEBODY! You have a special destiny and nothing can stop you from reaching it, the question is how often can it happen? A person graduated from college in her 80’s. People have given birth in their 60’s. What do you want to do so badly it doesn’t matter when you start?
○ Life isn’t easy or fair, but that can be a good sign. It means that you can’t do everything and that can force you to only take on the goals that are most important to you. See? There’s always a silver lining!
○ To be fair, there are things that require an earlier start than others. You’re not likely to play in the NBA if you take up basketball in your late 50’s. But it’s still possible to participate in some other way like working in the front office.
6. “It’s too hard.” It is 100% true that some things are harder, more competitive and require a greater level of discipline than others. But claiming that something is “too hard” is really just another way of admitting that you’re afraid.
○ The truth is that people with fewer resources, experience, and talent are still extremely successful. You don’t have to look far for role models who’ve overcome greater challenges then what you are facing now.
○ Could you be making your problem bigger than it really is? You may be overexaggerating what you are up against. Excuses are a waste of your limited energy. To overcome what’s holding you back you’ll need motivation, stamina, and resilience to succeed.
7. “I’m not qualified” There are plenty of examples of people who have overcome their heritage and the limitations of where they were born from poor schools to abusive parents to become successful. You decide if you are qualified. Figure out the steps to make you feel confident. Write your plan and start taking action to get the experience you are seeking.
8. “I have too many responsibilities already.” Would you rather have too many options or not enough?
9. “I don’t deserve it.” WATCH OUT WILL ROBINSON! If you notice these negative thoughts are starting to stick consider taking action and changing your environment starting with the people around you. Start listening to positive affirmations and check out my morning playlist to reprogram your thoughts to focus on what’s going right and not limit your future with these types of negative, terrible thoughts.
Instead ask yourself, who am I not to win?
10. “They won’t let me” Maybe you're overwhelmed with your role as a caregiver or you could be dealing with a bad manager at work but if your excuse includes someone else, STOP! As a mom of two boys under the age of six, I’ve been there. Consider changing your timeframe and making sure you're unlocking all of your resources but don’t give up!
Early in my career, I had an editor who would tell me that my writing was getting worse. That was particularly troubling feedback since I was hired as a writer. I felt worthless and became afraid I would lose my job. On top of that, I couldn’t get any information about what to improve. Instead, I was told, “just don’t do THAT anymore!”
I was stuck and it was so painful that I quit after a few months. If your situation is causing you pain and you're making excuses to avoid making progress, my advice is to avoid letting someone else convince you it’s not worth improving your situation. You are worth your time and you deserve to be happy. You have a special set of gifts and it’s up to you to unlock them and use them for good.
Freedom is about having a choice. Do you make excuses or do you overcome them?
To be successful you have to let go of what’s holding you back. Are you ready to move forward?
Excuses are stories you tell yourself to explain why you are not taking action. By now you see that not taking action gets you no results. So put aside your excuses and go after what you truly want. You’ll be glad you did!
ASK YOURSELF: What limiting beliefs are you allowing to influence what you’ll achieve in life?
What are the excuses you use to justify not taking action or setting larger goals? What do you tell yourself when you think of chasing after a big goal, but then decide against it?
1. Make a list of the excuses you use that are preventing you from being more successful.
2. Reflect on how these excuses have limited you in the past.
3. Write a list of how they can negatively impact you and hold you back.
4. Look for proof your excuses are wrong.
5. Pick one action you are willing to take today to move your past your excuse and move you toward a goal.
Want support for your journey?
If you are feeling stuck, take time to go deeper into your strengths by signing up for the Getting Unstuck Career Package. Get three one on one coaching sessions to explore your career narrative, refresh your resume, and update your LinkedIn profile. You'll get the confidence to apply for the job you want.
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