We often make them unintentionally and consider them small and insignificant.
Think of the last time you made an excuse -
A self-justifying habit to rationalize “why” you didn’t follow through on a specific commitment or “why” you chose/didn’t choose to engage in a certain behavior.
“I don’t have the time to pick up a new skill”
“I’m too old to change career paths”
“I’m too young to start my own business”
“I’m afraid of what others will think of me”
“I’m too tired to workout with my 9-5”
So, why do we make excuses?
According to Neuroscientist, Alexis Fernandez,
5 common reasons include:
To avoid minor discomfort
To avoid feeling/being wrong
To avoid vulnerability
To avoid the feeling of going back to square
To avoid being attacked (our ego, our identity, our work)
Notice the similarity here?
We make excuses because we are AVOIDING something.
Sometimes (pretty rarely) the excuses we make can be valid.
When we may need to show ourselves and others some grace, periods of needed rest and recovery, or uncontrollable external circumstances.
But in reality, most of the time, the excuses we make hold us back from making progress toward our goals. Become aware of the excuses you make and the reasons behind them.
Be stronger than your excuses.
Chances are you’ve heard that one before. Sounds inspirational and straight out of a self-help book, but what does that really even mean? How do we flex our "attack-mentality muscles" when faced with situations where we would much rather prefer to avoid the roadblock and take a detour?
Let’s look into those 5 reasons we make excuses…
1. You don’t like discomfort?
Learn to welcome situations where you might feel uncomfortable at the beginning. Sure you might be facing uncertainty as you navigate uncharted waters.
But hey, no one ever found a treasure chest full of gold from staying on the shore.
Christoper Columbus? John B from Outerbanks?
You gain badass insight from uncomfortable experiences… and exciting stories to tell your friends.
2. You don’t want to be wrong or others to disagree with your ideas?
Throw your ideas fearlessly out there on the table, even if you think everyone might not agree with you.
Newsflash, being a bobblehead that always goes along with the majority makes you pretty replaceable in any industry.
Provide value to your organization and the teams you’re on by challenging the status quo and standing up for convictions and the work you create.
3. Afraid to be vulnerable? Fear rejection?
Put yourself out there and invest in personal connections and relationships.
Do something where there are no guarantees.
Be willing to say things out loud that others are probably thinking too, but don’t want to feel like they’re on an island by being the first at something.
Vulnerability doesn’t make you weak. Embracing your vulnerability and showing courage to be authentically seen and heard is incredibly powerful.
4. Don’t like to feel like a beginner at something?
No one is an expert at everything. You’ll never be halfway decent at anything if you keep delaying your start. Or hey, maybe you tried something for a little, then your life got crazy, and now you just need to get back on the horse.
It’s been a few months since you worked out
You’ve never done something and don’t want to look like a beginner
Or maybe you could be learning new skills to expand your knowledge - making yourself more valuable in your professional career
5. Don’t want to be personally attacked?
Ok, then don’t take things personally.
Next time you think about making an excuse consider if it’s valid or if you’re avoiding something.
Get uncomfortable so you can level up.
Challenge others’ ideas and have your own perspective.
Let go of your need to control and predict every outcome by being vulnerable.
Try something new and become a beginner at something you’ve always secretly wanted to learn.
Stop taking everything so damn personally and give less f***s about things that aren’t worth your energy.
Cut the excuses and avoidance when faced with roadblocks. They aren’t even roadblocks- they’re opportunities to bring out your toolbox of creative ideas and problem-solve.