Monday, April 22, 2013

Empower Yourself: Lesson #4 - Lose the Excuses!

In this five-week series, we will look at what you can do to empower yourself and take control of your life. Remember, "If it's going to be, it's up to me!"

Last week, we looked at games people play. This week’s installment, Lose the Excuses could be called the games we play with ourselves. We make excuses for why we don’t take action and why we don’t do what we need to do. The scary part is that we often convince ourselves of the truth of these lies we tell ourselves. However, if you are going to get out of your own way and really go after the things you want, you’ll have to confront these lies (excuses) with some solid and sobering truths.

Excuse: This is just how I am
True. This (whatever this is) is how you are now. This (whatever this is) is not what you have to be. You can change … careers, relationships, weight, bad habits, financial situation but you have to want to change. And, wanting to change is just the start. You have to develop a plan and consistently work it. This is how change happens, slowly, deliberately and consistently. It isn’t going to be easy and it usually won’t be fun (if it were easy and/or fun) you would have done it by now. Changing yourself is possibly but it is hard work. In the end though, it’s work it,

Excuse: But you don’t know what happened to me
No, I don’t know your past and it could be bad. However, you are the one (and the only one) who will decide how that past is going to affect your future. Are you going to let the horrors of your past, taint your present and alter your future for the worst? We have no control over what happens to us as children. Even as adults, things can happen that leave us defeated and demoralized. However, as grown-ups we decide what will come next. Will we let this continue or will we get the help we need to move beyond what happened and reclaim our lives? My philosophy is simple. This is my life to live. I can win and I can lose but I will win or lose – no one else will win, lose or make the rules that I live my life by.

Excuse: I don’t have the ________________
Maybe you don’t have the education, come from the right side of the tracks or have enough money. Review your options. Does your job have tuition reimbursement? Can you get a certification? Are there classes you can take at a community college or online? Can you find a mentor to help you learn the ropes? In 2013, you can meet the right people. This is not a caste system where you are stuck in the group you were born into. You can change your circumstances. As far as money, be creative. Can you start your endeavor with what you have right now? Have you looked into loans, grants or even finding a partner? There are ways to get the things you need, sometimes you have to be creative, other times you have to be patient. Either way, you have to be persistent and consistent.

Excuse: I’m not the right ___________________
You could be Black (or Hispanic or Korean or something else). You could be gay (or straight or bi or transgendered). You could be Muslim (or Christian or Hindu or Buddhist or an atheist). You could be blind (or deaf or paralyzed or otherwise disabled). Okay? Now what? Even if some people still have their  racist or homophobic or other prejudiced opinions, there are just as many people (if not more) who don’t. Refuse to let the narrow-minded among us keep you from your dream, Be resilient. Let their tactics roll right off of you. Be open. People who share your race, gender, faith or other quality aren’t always the ones who will be in your corner. Likewise, the ones who don’t share a trait aren’t always against you. See beyond these qualities and get to know the heart and mind of the person.

Excuse: I tried this before and it didn’t work
So try it again. Look at what didn’t work and see what you can do differently this time around. Learn from your mistakes and don’t let them stop you. While we are talking about failing, don’t let people’s reactions dissuade you either. The people who offer the most criticism, often are doing the least. It’s easy to criticize from the sidelines when you aren’t the one playing the game. The difference between those who succeed and those who don’t isn’t that the successful ones never experienced failure. They failed, often many times. The difference is that they kept getting back up.

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