moving beyond fear

How To Stop With the Excuses. Right Now!

Should I or shouldn't I? What would it mean if I did? Would I be any good at it? Would I be effective? Would I really be able to make a difference? Was I only fooling myself? Yes, excuses.

These are just some of the things that went through my head when I decided to return to school. Okay, it wasn't just any school. It was ministerial school. Who was I to think about becoming a minister? I didn't have the perfect life. In fact, my life was far from it. My credit was less than perfect, I was filled full of fear in my life, and feeling stuck in a career that I detested with every fiber of my being. That wasn't minister material! Or was it? Yep, excuses.

It all boiled down to excuses. I discovered that I could go on all day if I wanted to, almost acting as if I was the contestant on a game show, "Okay, Evin. It's your turn! Name 100 excuses. Now!"

Have you ever done that? Knew exactly what you wanted to do, where you wanted to go yet couldn't let go with all of the excuses as to why you couldn't or shouldn't? Don't worry. Most of us have done that. I would honestly be surprised to find even one person that hasn't.

What it all boiled down to for me was fear of actually making that change even though it was a wanted change. Sounds pretty crazy, doesn't it? We find that we desperately want something in our lives yet when presented with the opportunity to actually have it, we tuck our tails and run the other direction. We somehow, even if only subconsciously, self-sabotage ourselves, preventing ourselves from reaching the top of the climb. Once I discovered this about myself, I felt that surely I must be losing my mind. I wanted to walk to a mirror, look myself in the face and yell out, "What's wrong with you? Stop! Just stop!" It's not always quite so simple though, is it? So how? How do we stop with the self-sabotage? 

The first step with anything is realizing that well, there's something that must be worked through. I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that you've done that or you wouldn't still be reading. 

Next, we must learn to become comfortable within the uncomfortable. Now that one....that one strikes a nerve, doesn't it? It certainly did for me. Really thinking about this began to force me into the realization that I was afraid of possibly achieving success. What would it mean for me? How was it going to unfold? What if I took the risk and lost the shirt off of my back? What if I went after my dream only to lose it all and live in a van down by the river? (Although I must interject here that the more miserable I became in my undesirable situation, the more appealing the whole "van by the river" thing became.)

One of the first ways to begin this process, of becoming comfortable within the uncomfortable is to learn to trust yourself. Yes, you read that right. You must learn to trust yourself. I'm not going to lie to you and tell you that it's going to happen simply by saying, "Self. Learn to trust yourself." If it is that easy for you then great but it takes work for most of us. 

We can begin becoming comfortable in the uncomfortable by simply basking in the present moment. Fears and doubts begin to creep in when we begin to think of all the "what-ifs" or begin to feel as if we need to manage the details of how to get from Point A to Point B. When we learn that anything beyond this present moment is but only an illusion, we begin the first step of this journey. 

Actor Jim Carey once stated, "You can spend your whole life imagining ghosts, worrying about the pathway to the future, but all there will ever be is what’s happening here and the decisions we make in this moment, which are based on either love or fear. So many of us choose our path out of fear disguised as practicality. What we really want seems impossibly out of reach and ridiculous to expect, so we never dare to ask the universe for it."

He went on to say, "I learned many great lessons from my father, not the least of which was that you can fail at what you don’t want, so you might as well take a chance on doing what you love."

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