“The heart has its reasons but the mind makes the excuses.” ―
Following your dreams and doing work you love isn’t an easy path. It can get a little messy.
Between the fear of uncertainty, the inevitable learning curve, and palpable resistance to doing the hard work, it makes sense we deny ourselves what we really want.
With excuse after excuse we justify why we’re not making change or taking the necessary action.
We end up talking ourselves out of our big dreams and stay stuck in a job and lifestyle that isn’t right for us.
What would you do if you stopped making excuses?
Here are a few common excuses and how to address them.
Excuse #1: I Don’t Have the Skills
Maybe you dream of being a photographer, an entrepreneur, or a writer but you hold back because you’re a novice.
Starting something new quickly teaches us that gaining mastery of our craft can feel like a herculean effort.
But if you’re willing to put in the time and effort, your talent can be cultivated and curated.
If you have a big vision there’ll be a learning curve along the way. You have to grow into your vision.
Everything you’ve accomplished up to this point required making mistakes and learning along the way.
We all have natural skills and talents, so use these to your advantage, but if you find a skill set is lacking, make it a priority to invest in developing these skills.
Solution: Develop a growth mindset and add deliberate practice
You can improve just about any skill if you’re willing to put in the time and effort.
With enough deliberate practice you can gain mastery. But you’ll have to be willing to suck at first and make mistakes.
Marketing and sales used to be my arch nemesis. It wasn’t my strength so I avoided the hard work required to improve.
It wasn’t until I committed to learning and building this skills set that I started to get results and actually enjoy the process of building these entrepreneurial skills.
Deliberate practice is the most valuable asset to your growth. According to James Clear, “Researchers have noted that top performers in every industry are committed to deliberate practice. The best artists, musicians, athletes, CEOs, and entrepreneurs don’t merely work a lot, they work a lot on developing specific skills. For example, Jerry Seinfeld’s “don’t break the chain” strategy is all about deliberately practicing the skill of writing jokes.”
What skills do you need to improve?
Invest in your potential by setting goals for the progress you want to make and create a practice routine.
Excuse #2: People won’t understand
We all want to be validated for the work we do, but when it comes to living life on our own terms, people may not understand what we’re doing or why we’re doing it.
The good news is that doesn’t have to matter. Peoples’ personal, relationship, and career values are different. We have a different vision for our life and how we want to live.
To live a fulfilling and meaningful life it’s important to know and embrace your values and stop living by other people’s expectations.
Be true to the life you want to live and the person you want to be. People will admire and respect your resolve to do what you believe in.
“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.” ― Bernard M. Baruch
Solution: Decide what success means to you
I wish I had a fancy, painless life hack to assuage your desire for approval and eliminate unhelpful people pleasing tendencies, but it’s not that simple.
You may never stop caring what people think, but at some point you have care more about your destiny than you do about impressing your parents, your college professor, or your friends on Facebook.
Make your “Why” or purpose greater than your need for approval.
Everyone has a different definition of success. Your job is to decide what success means to you and follow this path.
Excuse #3: I don’t know how
How long have you been waiting to “someday” take action?
Most of us aren’t interested in the process of trying, failing, and learning as we go. It shakes our confidence.
Sure we tell ourselves, “I’ll gladly go for it when the time is right and there’s a clear step-by-step blueprint, but until then I’ll keep preparing.”
I used to be someone who would point out limitations and think small about my life. Whenever I had an inspiring idea or started thinking about what was possible for my life, I would poke holes in my vision and end up feeling like a hopeless dreamers.
I’ve grown to embrace the uncertainty that comes with innovation and thinking big.
I’ve stopped placing limits on what’s possible and have learned I don’t need to know “how” right away.
Just because I don’t know how, doesn’t mean I can’t start.
Solution: Just take the next best step
If you’re willing to take baby steps, you’ll be successful. Big results come from the accumulation of taking small steps on a day-to-day basis.
Become a lifelong learning and embrace that having a career that matters isn’t a clear-cut linear path.
There may or may not be someone doing what you want to do. It may require a little experimenting.
Just get out there and start doing something. Find one small way you can effect some change and make progress.
What’s the next best step for you?
Excuse #4: I can’t handle the success
It seems contradictory that we fear our own success, but it’s scary to come to terms with how our life might change if our dreams come true.
Will I still have the same friends? Will I be able to handle the pressure? Will I actually be happy with the outcome? What will I have to give-up?
Making a bigger impact means showing up more powerfully and intentionally. It’s scary to imagine the changes we’ll need to make, and because of this we hold back.
If our self-identity isn’t aligned with our future vision we’ll struggle to change because we won’t actually believe we can become who we need to be.
Following your dream will require an upgrade in your mental programming. It will require you to become a better version of your current self.
Solution: Act and think “As if…”
The initial obstacle to creating and manifesting a vision is the incongruence between where you are now and where you want to be. Sometimes what we want and who we want to become is a quantum stretch from our current reality.
We need to be prepared mentally and emotionally when we start achieving our wildly important goals. Acting as if or “fake it till you make it,” can help us reduce our doubts and open up to this new version of ourselves.
Ask yourself, “How would someone with this vision live their life? How would they think and act?”
Act (and think) as if to help you ease into a bigger vision and create a narrative that supports your success.
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be?” – Marianne Williamson