4 Of The Worst Excuses for Not Doing Your Work
This is one of those conversation prompting blog posts. I don’t just want you to read it and soak it in, I’m really inviting you to get involved in the comments on this post, share your experience and let me know what points ring true for you, or totally piss you off. I’m up for any of it because this topic is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT. And I will demonstrate just how important with a few stories.
WHAT BROUGHT THIS ABOUT
For the last few weeks I’ve been quietly beginning to fill a six month mentorship program called The Untame Yourself Women’s Leadership Council that will run from January to June in 2016.
I’ve mentioned it in a few places and there’s an invitation to apply on this page after people enter their name and email for some book bonus material – but I haven’t gone all out spreading the word yet. I needed a little rest and recovery time after the book launch and my trip to Costa Rica first.
In the applications I’ve received and some of the interviews I’ve conducted so far, I’ve been reminded several times how rampant it is for people’s words and actions not to be congruent. It’s not because people are liars or they want to be out of integrity. It’s because a lot of people don’t have a personal code of integrity. It’s nearly impossible to be aligned if you don’t know what you’re aligning with, and most people don’t specifically.
So when podcast listener Amy Jo Fernandez sent me a message the other day with this question, I was a resounding, “I know what you mean!!” and decided to address it on the blog this week as well as next week’s Ask Elizabeth podcast episode so keep an eye out for that on December 9.
Here’s what she said
“I have been wanting to write to you. Your podcast. It is everything. I love what you are doing and cannot wait to see it continue to evolve.
I found your podcast or it found me at the perfect time. 33 has been a YEAR. I lost my father, my grandmother, and went through a HUGE heartbreak with a man who just definitely wasn’t who I thought he was. Among other things. So these life changes brought me to kind of shut everyone out and listen to my needs. Truly listen and follow my heart. I read Elizabeth Lesser’s book “Broken Open.” It was just so perfect. I journaled my ass off. I read everything I could read and really fell in love with myself.
I am currently living with my mother (my silver lining), with no income and just waiting patiently for graduation. I have no love interest. Basically, to sum it up, I lost so much, but I am the happiest I have ever been. So the reason I am filling you in a bit with all my drama is to suggest some topics for your work. You may be into it, you may not. My friends ask me, “can you teach me to be strong like you?” Isn’t that sweet? The thing is, no one wants to do the work!! They think I just cried a lot, read some books, and ta da! I try to explain all of the things that I personally had to do, but these beautiful friends don’t want to make difficult decisions or face their fears. What is it that makes it seem so impossible and take so long for us to make changes and nurture ourselves? The texting with guys…holding on to every last emoticon. It’s so insane. The reasons people stay in mediocre or abusive relationships. It’s so common. The feeling of “I wish I could do that or have that..” but they don’t look in the mirror and see that they can! You know where I’m going with this. Anyway, those are my thoughts of topics people love and can’t get enough of. Have a great day! You rock. Thanks for doing what you do, Amy”
My answer to her question, “What is it that makes it seem so impossible and take so long for us to make changes and nurture ourselves?” lies in the four worst excuses for not doing your work.
THE FOUR WORST EXCUSES FOR NOT DOING YOUR WORK
First, let’s be clear on two things, what I mean by “your work” and what an excuse is.
Your work has two meanings:
First is being an active participant in your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual evolution. Your work is personal responsibility. It’s cultivating and using your gifts, talents, and abilities. It’s expressing yourself, loving yourself, trusting yourself and accepting yourself and other people. If you’re reading this blog, you’re already on the path.
Second is your sacred work in the world. Everyone has some, few people invest the time, energy and attention to figuring out what it is, and pursuing it with unrelenting faith.
An excuse is a reason or explanation put forward to defend or justify a fault or offense.
You came to this planet with a set of gifts, talents and abilities. To not use them is like spitting in the face of your Creator. I personally can’t condone that, so I’m going to show you how you’ve been doing it. I don’t think this is something you would choose if you realized it, which is why we’re bringing awareness to it so you can make better choices from now on.
Excuse #1: “I don’t have the resources.”
This might be the trickiest excuse because it’s really easy to build a case for it being true when in reality, it’s never true.
Fact: People always find time and money for things that are important to them.
The question isn’t whether or not you have resources (which for most people means time and money). Better questions are:
How important to you really is the thing you’re saying you don’t have resources for?
How much longer are you willing to live the way you’re living?
How committed are you to change or get the results you want?
How can you find or create the resources you need?
And like everything I talk about here, it comes down to choice.
Sometimes in life we get to be creative, think outside of the box, and consider solutions that make us uncomfortable if we really mean what we say and truly want the things we say we want.
This might mean taking out a loan, using a line of credit, borrowing money from someone, hiring help like a babysitter, nanny, housecleaner, a part-time assistant. Or maybe it’s just delegating some of your responsibilities that others could do just as well if not better than you to free up some time.
The most successful people in the world are the most resourceful.
I accepted a woman to the Leadership Council the other day who is having a rough year financially after quitting a job she could no longer stand. She really wanted to join the program, so she did something she had never done in her entire life before (this is a woman in her mid-30s), she asked her parents for help.
Sometimes getting what you want requires you to do things you’ve never done.
Note: Her parents said yes and she got exactly what she wanted – to join the Leadership Council. The saying is true, “Fortune favors the bold.”
Excuse #2: “I don’t know what I want.”
Yes you do. You always know. This is something I lovingly call bullshit on with my clients all the time.
If you are willing to slow down, tune into your body (which means tuning out your mind temporarily), you know.
Saying I don’t know really means, “I don’t want to know.”
And most of the time you don’t want to know because you’re afraid. Because once you do know, or admit to knowing, then you actually have to do something about it OR consciously face the consequences of ignoring your knowing, and those consequences are usually not gentle.
Ignorance isn’t bliss, it’s convenient and it’s the most traveled road on the planet.
I highly suggest you find a detour if you want to live a satisfying and meaningful life.
Excuse #3: “I’ll figure it out on my own.”
I had someone say this to me other day after telling me that she is an “experienced procrastinator” and struggles to follow through on things without accountability.
Here’s what I told her:
“There is a different between trusting yourself and trying to figure things out on your own.
Trying to figure something out on your own is not necessarily an act of self-trust. In some cases it is an act of self-denial. Here’s what I mean by that -one of the things we spent some time on during your call was your history as an “experienced procrastinator” and you shared that has partly been due to lack of accountability. Of course, everything you need is inside of you. Whether you have what it takes is rarely the question – whether you are able to access all of it and execute on it on your own, with your own limited view of yourself based on your life experiences is a different story.
Every time in my life that I have been ready to make a big shift, change, or some kind of progress, I have hired a coach. The reason why is, I cannot see my own blindspots, I cannot hold myself accountable, and I cannot fully support myself in the way I need to be supported to create long-term, sustainable habit changes and results. This isn’t just true for me, it’s the case for almost everyone, and the people who are exemptions have a life long track record of getting results on their own. Great accomplishments are rarely ever done alone.
The value is having someone objective, with experience getting the results you desire, who doesn’t have your stories, blocks, triggers or limiting beliefs to combat, they just fully believe in you, and hold the space for your growth, evolution and creating what you want. This it not about doubting yourself, this is about honoring who you are and being willing to be helped and have a support system – something you also expressed desire for on our call the other day.”
Can you relate to this? Are you someone who prides yourself on figuring things out on your own but if you look at your actual progress it isn’t all that great?
Maybe you need to stop trying to figure out on your own and get some help. A quote I’ve heard for years that usually gets attributed to Tony Robbins is, “If you keep doing what you’ve been doing, you’re going to keep getting what you’ve been getting.”
Case in point, this was her reply:
“I wonder if you hear this a lot?
I’ll bet you do. And I do often as well, working with people and their stuff. And for the exact reasons you mentioned. Because people can’t see their stuff. Because I can’t see my own stuff. Funny I haven’t been on this side of it yet. So, I have been happily/not happily oblivious.
I don’t have accountability. That is exactly what I need.
I need the coach. Going into what I want to be a huge change and shift, in my life. I need that.
I need, want and desire the support that comes with that. I want to work with someone that is going to do all those things for me.”
Excuse #4: “I’m not ready.”
My answer to this one is always, “How will you know when you’re ready?”
And most people’s replies are vague, “I’ll just know.” “I’ll feel it.”
“OK what does ready feel like to you?”
It’s hard to articulate something we’ve been using as an excuse that doesn’t serve us.
We’re never really ready for anything in life, which also means we’re always ready, so just do something differently today.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU STOP MAKING EXCUSES
The answer here is short, sweet, and simple:
You get to live a personally meaningful life that also makes the world a better place simply because you exist. You get to tell the truth with an open heart, experience more love, freedom, and energy because you’re no longer invested in keeping up the stories, or playing out the patterns that will only ever get you so far.
Pretty much, you get to have whatever you want.
One of my favorite sayings sums it up nicely, “The juice is worth the squeeze.” So ditch the excuses, you’ve got this.
I’ll see you on the other side…or not. As always, it’s your choice.
COMMENT TIME! Let’s talk about this. In the blog comments below, tell me which or excuse you use or have used and ONE action step you can take today towards resolving it and creating some positive change in your life.4 Of The Worst Excuses for Not Doing Your Work