How often do you tell yourself and others these 3 lies each day?
- I can’t afford it.
- I don’t have time.
- I don’t have the energy.
My guess? Multiple times.
These are THE most socially acceptable excuses we distribute and rarely, if ever, do we get any pushback from ourselves or others.
These are the excuses I hear from my private clients, leaders & groups during every. single. session. It’s a go-to move until you learn how to get beyond this first sign of resistance, get a different perspective on the situation and focus on possible solutions.
Let’s take them one at a time, shall we?
- I can’t afford it. We can’t afford it. It’s not in the budget.
If you had a nickel for every time you told this lie, you COULD afford it! Look, sometimes there are real resource constraints, I get it. But MOST of the time it’s a choice, it’s fear and resistance that keep you from figuring out how to make the investment you know you need to make to move forward. When someone uses this on us, we rarely push back and ask clarifying questions or advocate for the investment. It’s a very easy way for people to say no – they’re banking on the fact that most people don’t like talking about money.
What questions do you need to ask to create possibilities instead of putting up roadblocks? How could we fund it? Where could we find the money to make this investment? What are the benefits? What would it look like if it worked?
- I don’t have time. We don’t have time. There aren’t enough hours in the day.
Time is relative. If you think you don’t have time, you don’t. You may be reading this and thinking, “Oh Whitney, I really DON’T have time. You don’t understand.” and continue to argue that your situation is totally different and that you really are overworked and aren’t capable of fitting everything in that needs to be fit in.
And if you argue for it, you’ll get it. There are lots of ways to work smarter, not harder. If you really prioritize and plan and focus on what matters most, you’ll find you get the right stuff done. (Be sure to check out the Make 3 Changes Monday Missions next month, which will focus on some strategies for dealing with this excuse!)
Here are some questions you could ask to find more time. What’s the most important thing? What’s the most important next step? What could wait? What could I delegate? What is necessary? What are my top 3 priorities? How do the things on my list today match up to them? Who can I ask for help? What expectations do I need to better manage? And my favorite, NO. It’s a complete sentence. Try it. NO. No, Thank You. Not at this time. You get the idea.
- I don’t have the energy. We don’t have the capacity. I’m just too tired.
This one is a tough one for me. I am a very active person – physically and mentally. I have a lot of different balls in the air at any given time. I am many things to many people. I fall for this one most often of all. The truth is, if I meditated more, if I slept better and more regularly, and if I worked out more, I’d have more energy.
Regarding the capacity question – a favorite vague term from my non-profit leadership days – I challenge you to define capacity. Get really clear about what that even means before you toss it out as an excuse to NOT say yes to something that could be a good idea OR to justify not even exploring an idea.
Here are a few questions to ask yourself about energy & fatigue. Why don’t I have the energy? What activities give me energy? What activities drain me or deplete my energy?
What are the other lies you tell yourself and others each day? They probably start with one of the 3 statements below.
- I can’t… do that, learn that, try that, expose myself like that, etc…
- I should… (please stop “shoulding” all over yourself)
- They won’t... say yes, do what I need them to do, allow it, etc…
What if … you got into the habit of pushing up against these excuses and changed the way you thought about and spoke about the opportunities, the challenges and the internal resistance you feel when change is coming or when change is needed?
If you’re ready to take a look at the lies that you’re telling yourself and others and how that’s keeping you from moving forward, I’m ready to talk with you!
Book a clarity conversation with me. Don’t see a time that works for you? Email me and we’ll get something on the calendar – firstname.lastname@example.org.
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