Excuses get in the way of so many dreams and hopes. Check out my latest podcast where I talk about the top 10 excuses that keep you stuck!
I know, I know…there is always an excuse for not doing something. In my life I have heard many excuses and erroneous beliefs by people who think that they are stuck, against the wall and that things just can’t possibly work for them. This infectious mindset is a dream and goal killer that will become a self fulfilling prophecy. Check out the top ten dream killing excuses I have encountered most. With each excuse I have written a rumination that I hope will push you past the wall that is created by that excuse. Life is too short to give up, throw in the towel, or choose to not even get to the starting line. I believe in you, so read on.
1. It’s Way Too Hard!
Well, it might be hard, but nothing of lasting value comes easy. File this excuse in the round-bin and determine to push through until you get a break through! As I consider the things that have given me the greatest amounts of joy and purpose, I quickly realize that “hard” was a part of the journey. Working through a hurt relationship…a mom in childbirth…launching a new endeavor…helping a team achieve their shared potential ..helping someone find God…helping someone find freedom from life’s hurts, hangups or habits. What are your greatest joys?
2. I Don’t Have Enough Education.
Well I have one easy word to say to this excuse…GOOGLE. Seriously, information is overabundantly available and easy to acquire. Another word is…YOUTUBE. You can watch and learn pretty much anything you might possibly need to know, along with a ton of stuff you don’t need to know with a click of the mouse. Read…learn…invest time in research. You might not have a degree, but all the information you need on any given subject is available if you look for it.
3. No One Will Buy It.
Well, they might not, BUT…just spend some time watching infomercials and that will change your mind. Just today I saw infomercials that are raking in millions on products like “Forever Lazy”, “Smokeless Cigarettes”, and “eco-friendly cooking pans!” Another great show to watch is “Shark Tank” where people are selling investors on some pretty crazy and unique items. You simply need to think through the”whys” of your idea and start thinking about how to communicate your idea to the world.
4. Better To Be Safe Than Sorry.
I have heard this voiced from the lips of risk managers for years! And every time this excuse is vocalized a dream dies somewhere. Play the movie forward…you are on your deathbed…your life is flashing before your eyes…all the dreams you had and the possibilities that found their genesis in your soul are playing… yet none of them finding fruition in your life because you played it safe. You struggled to make ends meet in life all-the-while making someone else, who took risks, wealthy . You gave your ideas away and other people not only did well with them, the idea made a major life changing impact. I think you’ll be sorry you always played it safe.
5. I Don’t Have Any Experience At This.
This might be true, but remember there was a time when:
- going to school was something you had never done.
- falling in love was a feeling you had never had.
- driving a car had never been attempted.
- playing a particular sport was completely unknown in your experience.
All of these are excuses based upon fear of the unknown. Your life has been built on many “firsts” so don’t let this one bench you!
6. I Don’t Have Enough Time.
This is by far the #1 excuse I hear. In my book Sacred Space I note that the average American will spend a total of 15 complete years in front of a TV or computer screen by the time they are 65 years old. That’s a whole lot of Pinterest, Facebook and Dancing With the Stars and it is amazingly sad to me. Everybody has the same number of seconds, minutes and hours in each day. The difference between those who accomplish much and those who accomplish little is in how they manage their time. Perhaps it’s time for you to master your schedule instead of things, events and other people mastering your time.
7. If I Succeed There Will Be Greater Expectations of Me.
This is a bit deeper, but is still rooted in fear. Many wonder, “What will people expect from me if I succeed at this?”, “Will I be able to meet their expectations?”, “If I can’t meet their expectations then I just can’t move forward.” My response to this is three words…”Not Your Monkey.” Sure, people will have elevated expectations of you, but guess what? They already do and you probably just don’t know it. At the end of the day you need to be able to stand clean before God, not your neighbor. What other people expect of you is their monkey not yours so let it go! It’s time to stop being controlled by the expectations of others by setting good boundaries based on grace and truth.
8. I Don’t Have People To Help Me.
Well, I have been there for sure. Sometimes I have felt very alone as I have moved forward, and other times I have had a great team around me. What I have learned is that when I commit and move forward with all of my heart, like minded people appear! If I had waited for people to come around and support me before any initiative, most of those ideas would still be on the launching pad. Instead, when I believe I have the right purpose, I start moving and visioning and the right people naturally connect with the vision. Had I not started though I would have never connected with those people. So decide, determine and detonate! Your team will appear.
9. It’s Been Done Before.
This is true, in fact King Solomon said it best in Ecclesiastes 1:9
“What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.”
Everything is a synthetic remix of something else. A good friend of mine, and record producer, once told me that there is nothing new in rock music that the group Boston hadn’t done in some fashion! Whatever it is that you are considering, just make it yours.
10. If I Fail I’ll Be Crushed.
I really get this. Fear of failure is what keeps a large number of people from pursuing their dreams. And the truth is…you might fail, more than once. I take solace in the truth that most success stories were birthed in some failures,for instance:
- Henry Ford went broke five times before he founded the successful Ford Motor Co.
- R.H. Macy had seven failed businesses before he hit it big with Macy’s in New York.
- Harland Sanders’ recipe for chicen was rejected 1009 times before a restaurant finally picked it up.
- Walt Disney was told “he lacked imagination and had no good ideas.”
- Thomas Edison was told in his early years that he was “too stupid to learn anything.”
If you have found yourself uttering any of these excuses it is time to let them go, set your sails, and move forward.
I also came across the following info-graphic on Facebook today that I thought was worth ruminating over. ~Monty
Every day a minefield of potential disappointments needs to be navigated. They range in scope, complexity and depth of pain. In the last couple of months I have walked with people through a number of disappointments. For example:
- A young man processing a freshly broken heart.
- A marriage that ended after years of counseling and struggle.
- Another life taken by the devastation of cancer.
- Multiple people who lost jobs and dreams.
- Stressed out couples looking foreclosure in the face.
- One woman who has faced over 70 surgeries that haven’t worked.
- A hard conversation that didn’t end as the person had hoped.
Disappointments happen, but they don’t have to define you. Too often people who experience disappointments begin to create an identity out of them which leads to a victim mindset and actually perpetuates a deadly cycle.
Disappointments happen when our expectations and considerations are not aligned with reality. Current studies are revealing that a person who lives with a sense of constant disappointment is at a higher risk for health issues such as chronic stress, headaches, and gastrointestinal problems just to name a few.
How To Deal With Disappointments
1. Own Your Feelings
I have worked with people who employed many different methods of coping with disappointments. Perhaps the most used method, and also the most destructive one, is taking a long cruise on that big ol’ river in Egypt… Denial. Denial comes in many forms. There is the classic minimizer who seems optimistic by minimizing the current situation, but truth-be-told, it is just another form of denial. Full blown denial simply chooses to not embrace or admit the emotional toll that a disappointment has created.
Comments like, “It’s no big deal” “I’m fine with it” “It really didn’t matter to me anyway” or even “It doesn’t affect me” reveal that we are not in touch with our emotions. If we don’t own how a disappointment has affected us, the emotional pain will drive down deep and eventually leak out in destructive ways onto other people.
So the first step in dealing with disappointments is to be honest, admit how you feel, acknowledge the emotions that are churning inside you and grieve what was lost. This brings your emotional reality into the light where it can be dealt with and healed instead of of being pent up and eventually combusting.
2. Change Your Perspective
While you may not be able to choose what events happen in your life, you do have the ability to choose how to respond in a given situation. If you have dealt with the truth about how a situation has made you feel, then you are better able to respond instead of react.
If you haven’t dealt with your emotions and the reality of a situation, more than likely you will either moves towards denial or depression. If you have dealt honestly with how you are feeling, you can make a choice to look at the circumstances differently. Most people that I know seem to be professional worriers, so their thoughts swirl around the negative and keep the disappointment alive. Instead of dwelling on the disappointment you need to choose different thoughts, different data to center on.
Perspective Changing Questions: Ask yourself some question that will help you change your thinking. “I wonder what God is up to in this?” This question reminds me that there is a bigger picture and a higher reality at work all the time, and that God is always working in my life through the good, bad and ugly. While God may not be the cause of every situation I face, His promise is to be with me through all of life’s circumstances. This gives me hope and I remember that as long as I am breathing, God is still at work in me.
The second question I ask is “How should I respond in a way that has integrity and vision” To respond with integrity means that I have choices that will grow my soul or shrink it. When I react, my soul shrinks and I become less human. When I pause, evaluate and respond, I have the opportunity to grow, be light and get a higher view of the situation.
To think vision means that I believe there is a preferred future that this disappointment can shape me for. I have found in my own life that it has been the disappointments and the dark nights that have grown my soul and not the mountain top experiences. Every life experience is a soul-forge, changing your perspective from disappointment to vision unleashes potential.
3. Move Your Body
This might sound strange at first, but doing something physical makes a big difference in moving from disappointment towards hope. Staying on the couch asking “why” questions over and over will keep you stuck in a rut. Get up, get out and do something. There is a direct correlation between physical exercise and emotional and spiritual health. They are all integrated. Here are a few things to consider doing to help you change your perspective:
* Hit the gym. When you go to the gym to work out you can tale your iPod with you and listen to good music, great teaching and all kinds of positive reinforcement. you can listen to my messages by going here or on iTunes by simply putting my name in the search bar.
* Go for a walk or a hike. Get outside and breathe in some fresh air and immerse yourself in God’s creation.
* Time to pray. Prayer can also be physical by incorporating them on your walk, run or treadmill. Talk to God, ask some soul questions as you go, you’ll not only get some air into your lugs and blood moving through your soul, but you’ll also connect with God while you do it.
* Become a MMA cage fighter. Just kidding, but ongoing involvement with a Karate class or Tai Chi are great ways to keep your body moving, help you focus, and integrate a healthier lifestyle. I have found that when I am balancing the three areas that are me (Body, Soul and Spirit) I am better at handling the disappointments that come my way.
Questions to consider:
+ where do my thoughts go, and what do I dwell on when I get depressed or am disappointed?
+ how can I look at a situation with integrity and vision?
+ who is in my life that I can call to help me with my perspective?
+ what small step can I take towards getting physical activity in my life?
Give me your thoughts and leave a comment!
There are many factors that affect the way we engage in and experience our daily life. Conscious and unconscious forces are at work and we are responding to their taunts, whether good or bad, throughout the day.
Conversations that you had before you left the house, or the motorist who cut you off on the freeway causing you to spill you 1/2 caff caramel machiato are a couple of examples of events that shape our attitude, and as Zig Ziglar said, “Your attitude, not your aptitude, determines your altitude.”
Have you ever wondered why sometimes your mood just tanks and you don’t know why? Or, sometimes you feel great for no apparent reason? There are invisible forces at work that are shaping those feelings. Once you understand that you have the ability to affect those forces, the journey of life takes on a radically different, more positive, form.
Here are three simple things that you can do today to begin changing your sense of joy, peace and happiness throughout the day.
1. First Thoughts
The attitude and shape of your day begins before your feet even hit the ground. It begins before your first perceived thought. Your first perceived thought is intimately linked to your first semiconscious thought. It is here, the moment of your first thoughts, that you have the ability to shape how you will feel and engage the day.
Do you remember what your first thought was today? This week, keep a journal or spiral notebook by your bed. As soon as you begin to become aware of the place the exists between dreams and awake, write down what those rapid fire thoughts were in your notebook.
As you begin to see what thoughts you are thinking as you begin the day, you can choose to change and replace them with better, more positive and more powerful ones. This is also a great time to have a good morning conversation with God where you can speak a creative word with Him about your day. Developing this powerful habit will change your attitude and outlook. Instead of saying, “Good Lord, it’s morning…” we change it to “Good morning Lord.”
Invite God into the journey of your day asking Him to empower you to think, act and speak differently.
2. Last Thoughts
The last thoughts you think before you go to sleep are also attitudinal and life shaping thoughts. Many of us go to sleep battling the anxieties, stresses and worries of the day. If you go to sleep with those destructive thoughts, they will invade your subconscious dream life which sets you up for a miserable “First Thought” the next day. It truly can be a vicious cycle.
An end of day review is a powerful way to look over the events of the day. Note the good moments, the moments when God was most present in your actions. If there were some interactions that were hard or painful, this is the time to release them to God, placing them in His care and ability to heal.
The end of day review can also help you see what you need to do differently tomorrow, and with God’s help, you will begin moving in that direction even as you enter the world of dreams with a healthier plan for the next day.
Intentionally reviewing your day… setting your expectations for tomorrow….Releasing all your thoughts to God will prepare your mind for restful sleep and positive thought resetting while you sleep.
3. God Thoughts
Perhaps what is most important is that a relationship with God is the ultimate need of every human being in order to experience true peace, true joy, and a soaring attitude. We try so many things to find joy and happiness. You are aware that there is circumstantial happiness and joy…when we buy something we have wanted…when someone gives us an “atta boy”…or even when we find that extra 20.00 in our pats pocket. However, the downside to circumstantial happiness and joy is that it is tethered to an object or thing that is limited and short lived…in otherwords, the happiness and joy always fades.
There is, however, an intrinsic sense of happiness, joy and attitude that comes from a divine source, not a circumstantial happening. I think that C.S. Lewis said it best:
“God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing.”
In order to experience true, lasting, intrinsic joy…you must be tethered to God, who is by very nature, joy and goodness. To tether to anything else will affect our first thoughts and our last thoughts.
This week, note your first thoughts and change them into God-saturated positive thoughts.
This week review your day, celebrate the good moments and determine with God’s help to do better tomorrow. Then, release the anxious thoughts to God.
This week, tether your hope to God and nothing else, for God longs to give you happiness and peace, but in order for Him to give those to you, He must give you Himself as the source of all things good.