Is there something in your life that you know you need to do right now but you’re just not doing it?
Maybe it’s finally getting to work on that business idea that you wrote on a napkin two years ago. Or maybe it’s sitting down to write the book that’s been floating around in your brain for longer that you can remember.
Whatever it is for you…have you created so many excuses about NOT doing it that you now actually believe your own excuses? Have you delayed so long on taking action that it seems near impossible to achieve your goal?
“I think my problem is that I have too much time to work on my side business,” she said. “I’m thinking about talking to my boss about switching from part-time back to full-time.”
Just last month she had told me she was eager to get her life coaching business off the ground, so she was happy to only be working a part-time job.
Recalling our previous conversation, I tilted my head slightly to the right and gave her a quizzical look. She continued, “It’s just that I can better structure my day when I have less free time. So I’ll be more motivated to work on my coaching business if I have a full-time job.”
Let me think….six letters, starts with an “E”…oh yeah….EXCUSE. I’ve heard the “I don’t have enough time” excuse many times before, but never the “I have too much time” excuse. Clever.
When someone else whips out a blatant excuse in broad daylight, it’s easy to pick it up on your BS meter. In fact, it’s hard not to instantly blurt out, “Are you serious?” Unfortunately, when we tell the exact same excuses to ourselves over and over again, they start to appear more like cold hard reality than merely a fabricated excuse.
The truth is, we ALL have our own unique collection of excuses that we can quickly draw from anytime we need a fast justification of why we haven’t done what we need to do. The moment a feeling of guilt pops up because we haven’t even started working towards our ultimate goal, we use our excuses as ammunition to mow down the guilt and continue along our comfortable path of mediocrity.
The reality of the matter is you can create thousands of excuses in life, but there is really no good excuse for not taking action on your dreams.
So, yes, you might not have enough money, not have the right knowledge, not have enough time (or have too much time!), not know the right people, or not know the next step to take, but are you really going to let that stop you??
If you want to quit your job and work for yourself full-time, you have to box up all your excuses and FedEx them to someone who wants to stay gainfully employed forever. You can’t keep them around if you want to be successfully self-employed. They aren’t serving you and it’s time to let them go for good.
Ready to kick your excuses to the curb? Hell yes! Here are 4 simple steps for overcoming the excuses that will destroy your self-employment dream:
Step #1: Write down all your excuses
Remember what I said earlier? It’s easy to spot someone else’s excuses, but not to see your own. That’s why the first step here is to become aware of your excuses. You can’t overcome them if you have no idea what they are and how they are holding you back.
To figure out what your excuses are, write down a list of goals/dreams/tasks that you have been delaying or procrastinating on taking action on. It could be anything from building a business website to writing a book to calling potential sponsors.
Next, speak each goal out loud like you were telling a friend what you wanted to accomplish. Then pretend like your friend asks you, “Why haven’t you gotten it done yet?” This is when your excuses will pop up. When they do (even though they’ll sound to you more like real barriers instead of made-up excuses), write all of them down. Do this for each of your goals/dreams/tasks until you have your personal list of excuses.
Step #2: Paint the picture of your life without excuses
Next, you want to envision what your life would be like if you didn’t have each of these excuses. On another piece of paper, write down your excuses and underneath each one, describe what you’d be able to accomplish if you didn’t have that particular excuse.
For example, say my excuse is: “I can’t get my business website finished because I don’t know any good website designers who don’t charge an arm and a leg.”
Sounds like a reasonable excuse right? In fact, if this was my problem, I would have probably delayed on getting a website built for months, if not years. So now it’s time to look at what your life would look like without the excuse:
“I would find the right person to help me get my business website up and running. Because of that, I would have a professional business presence online. I would finally be able to drive traffic to my website and get more customers. I would be able to create multiple streams of income—ebooks, audio courses, etc—that I would be able to sell on my site, so that I wouldn’t always be working dollars-for-hours. I could check this off my list and start to focus on other more important parts of my business.”
Get the idea?
Step #3: Go one week without giving excuses
After you’ve created your list of common excuses and envisioned what your life would be like without them (ultimately better, right?), it’s time to put your excuses on the backburner for 1 week. (If you can’t do 1 week, try 1 day or even 1 hour.)
For one whole week, practice not giving excuses. Don’t say things like “I don’t have enough time to…”. Catch yourself every time something like this comes out of your mouth. Take control of your situation and your life by instead saying something like, “I didn’t make time to…” I won’t lie to you, it doesn’t feel as comforting to say this, but it’s ultimately the truth.
Once you get in the habit of not making excuses, you start to get more done because there’s nothing standing in the way of you accomplishing your goals. Get ready—it can be a truly liberating experience!
Step #4: Start working on a task you’ve been delaying on
In high school, AP physics was one of my favorite classes (yes, I’m a nerd). I remember learning about rolling friction and the momentum that it takes to overcome this force before an object like a wheel or a ball can begin rolling. Once you overcome the rolling frictional force, it doesn’t take as much energy to keep the object moving.
This is the same with any goal or task that you’ve been delaying on. Once you take action to “get the ball rolling”, the rest of it becomes a lot easier.
This week, start working on a task you’ve been procrastinating on and making excuses for. Try breaking your big goals into small, bite-size tasks and take action on one or two of these smaller things. Trust me, it will feel incredible to actually be moving forward with something that you’ve been stuck on for so long.
Sometimes when you make the decision to break up with your excuses and move ahead full-speed, there can be some separation anxiety. This is normal. It’s possible that you feel exposed because there’s no longer anything standing in-between you and your dreams. This can definitely be scary, intimidating and highly uncomfortable, but when those feelings crop up, it just means you’re on the right track.