Excuses get a bad wrap. We all make them. Some times we need them. Ever need to get out of another jewelry party? Excuses are pretty awesome then. Or what about when a headache forces you away from the computer and out into the world? We all need excuses sometimes.
The trouble comes in when we allow excuses to become more than get-out-of-jail-free cards and small moments of self-forgiveness. When excuses become our narrative—when they dictate how we perceive ourselves—that is when they become dangerous.
Diets don’t work for me. I can’t lose weight. Why try?
I’m too busy. I don’t have time to write.
It costs too much. I can’t risk the expense.
Any of these sound familiar? Excuses come out of a place called fear. Ever heard of it? Yeah, me, too. Excuses are the soft, cushy lining that protects you from facing what you fear. It’s also the barrier between you and your potential.
When we eliminate the excuse, we tear down that padded wall. But if that’s all that stands between us and success, why is it so hard to do? Because it’s scary. Because ripping apart those excuses means plunging headfirst into head work and unknown outcomes.
Which is why excuses can be our best friend and our worst enemy. They protect us. They give us outs. But they can also become a security blanket that we cling to.
Do yourself a favor and keep track of your excuses this week—spoken and thought. That means the ones you give other people and the ones you tell yourself. Wear a rubber band or something to remind yourself. When you realize you’re making an excuse, ask yourself why you’re doing it.
Is this a friendly excuse? (Sorry, I can’t chair that committee, it conflicts with my business class.)
Or a foe? (I only have an hour until the kids come home. I don’t have time to write/cook/paint/exercise.)
And when it’s the latter, call yourself on it. Because you are more than your excuses. You are more than yesterday’s wasted time on Facebook or last night’s chocolate ice cream binge. You are more than your last failed diet or abandoned draft.
How do I know this? Because you’re still reading this. That means you’re breathing, which means that possibility—that unrealized success—that’s waiting for you on the other side of your excuses.
Isn’t that fabulous news?