Monday, April 14, 2008

The excuses we make

Recently at an event, I was chatting with someone in my network about marketing and strategizing. When I mentioned the importance of taking time to strategize and visualize the type of work you'd like to be doing, my conversation partner immediately said, "oh, I just don't have time for that kind of stuff. I know I should do it, but between kids and work and everything else, I'm lucky I have time to breathe!"

So many of us have an excuse list like this for anything that's really good for us. How often have you told yourself you don't have time to get to the gym? Eat right? Send out that marketing e-mail you've been meaning to? Yet, in my experience at least, the moment you move away from the excuses and just do the thing you're putting off, you realize that it wasn't that bad to begin with, and it actually helped you accomplish more.

Just as an example, for the first couple of years I was running the zen kitchen, I went from a daily yoga/meditation practice and regular walks in my neighborhood to making every excuse under the sun why I couldn't work out, citing a packed schedule, a poorly laid-out apartment, all sorts of stuff. As a result, I've gained 40 pounds in the last 2 years, and it was only until the last couple of months that I've been able to turn off the excuses and get to the gym that I started losing weight again. Now I'm down 8 pounds and counting - and I'm still able to get my work done.

Success in anything - whether it's losing weight or growing a business - depends on quieting the excuses. Instead of listing all the reasons why you CAN'T, you have to think about how you CAN. What needs to shift a bit in order to fit in a daily workout? Who do you need to negotiate with to get time to write that business plan, or visualize your ideal client? Who do you need to hire in order to take over the stuff you aren't interested in so you can focus on the fun stuff? How can you find a way to pay for that?

I invite you to take some time this week and think about all the excuses you make for yourself. Where do they come from? What would happen if you just forgot the excuses and did it anyway? You might be surprised at what you get done.

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