As a Transformation Coach I love my clients, just as I love my readers. That is why at times I must use tough love in order to encourage others to dig deeper, look truth square in the face, and make a commitment to change. Either you want to transform your life or you don’t, and I hope you do, which is why I am offering this healthy dose of reality—with love.
“But” is the word that usually precedes an excuse. The dictionary defines an excuse as: “self-justification; ‘a defense of some offensive behavior or some failure to keep a promise’.”
“Buts” are simply what you use to self-justify why you are not living the life you truly desire.
Below are common “buts” that many of us use. If you are honest with yourself, you will see that these are in fact excuses and not legitimate reasons. The question is, then, why do we use these “buts?” Each “but” serves its own purpose, but ultimately they all help us to remain safe—to stay where we’re comfortable.
If you long for a life of fulfillment and meaning, in alignment with who you truly are, ask yourself if you are ready to eliminate “but” from your vocabulary. It’s time to make the changes you’ve been putting off and live a life without limitations!
But, it’s too hard.
Is it really too hard? How would you know; have you done it? You have made it through so-called “hard” things before, haven’t you? Continuing to live with what you don’t like is probably harder than making the change. For example, smoking is actually more difficult than not smoking.
Why you keep saying “but.” It gives the illusion that what you want is not possible so that you can avoid doing it. It also serves as a good explanation for failure should you attempt to change and have it not turn out successful. “I couldn’t do it because it was too hard, but at least I tried.”
But, it’s too risky.
There are no risky changes, only risky people. An intelligent decision to change based on sound reason and a deep desire, along with good research and a solid plan, is not risky at all. Changing careers is not risky, but jumping ship on a whim and being poorly prepared certainly makes you a risky person. Make intelligent plans for change, but don’t get stuck waiting for everything to be perfect. It won’t. You may say you don’t know what you want to do, but you do. We all have an intuitive guidance system. Your mind is just muffling your true voice amidst all of its worrying and over-analyzing.
Why you keep saying “but.” You choose to fear risk instead of having to face your other fears. For example, fearing risk makes it so you don’t have to fear failure. Fearing risk is safer; if you don’t take the risk you cannot fail, right?
Waiting for the “right” thing to happen is like waiting for all the traffic lights to be green for 5 miles before starting your trip.
But, it’ll take too long.
What is a “long time” anyway? For that matter, what is “time?” Haven’t you had experiences where “time flew by?” It is more accurate to look at time as an emotion, not a unit of measure. How “long” something takes has nothing to do with how much clock time passes and everything to do with how you feel. So, then why does it feel like it will take so “long?” Because you feel overwhelmed! In reality, time will pass anyway, regardless of whether or not you make the change.
“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” —Confucius
Why you keep saying “but.” It serves as a great way to put off making a decision. This is especially helpful when looking to make a change that involves a commitment. Really, you fear commitment, not time.
But, it costs too much.
At a practical level this is rarely true. It doesn’t cost too much, you simply aren’t using your creativity! I’ve known people who buy a coffee at Starbucks every day they go to work. At 5 days a week, 50 weeks a year – that would be 250 days of the year at a minimum of $3 a day. These people have a $750/year membership to Starbucks! And they say they can’t afford to go to the gym or take a vacation. At a deeper level it may help to evaluate your attitude towards money in general. Did you grow up around people with the belief that “money doesn’t grow on trees” or that it’s selfish to spend money on yourself?
Why you keep saying “but.” You fear money and not having enough. Plus, there’s the added bonus of evoking some level of sympathy from others and joining in with their self-pity about having too little money. It feels good to belong, doesn’t it?
But, I shouldn’t do it.
Who says? Not you. The fact that you use the word “shouldn’t” is a signal that your belief about it has come from some outside source—your parents, others, society, etc. Are you going to continue to live your life according to everyone else’s standards? Or, are you ready to take ownership of your own life? Remove “should” from your vocabulary and see how your life changes.
Why you keep saying “but.” Simply, you tell yourself you shouldn’t do it because you are either trying to conform and gain the approval of others or you have not yet realize that many of your “shoulds” are actually other people’s beliefs and not your own.
But, it’s overwhelming.
If you are feeling overwhelmed it’s because you are doing two things: focusing on the negative and thinking too big. It’s important to see the big picture, but you don’t want to “bite of more than you can chew.” Can you eat a big meal all at once? No, you eat it one bit at a time. At the same time, focusing on all the little details that you don’t like will quickly talk you out of changing. Keep your energy focused on what you DO want.
Why you keep saying “but.” You are frozen. You are either thinking too big or thinking about too many details that seem negative or undesirable. Break it down into manageable chunks and stay focused on the positive.
But, I don’t have time.
This is the most commonly used “but,” and it is totally bogus. In “It’ll take too long” we discussed how time is simply an emotion. So, by saying you “don’t have time” you’re saying you feel overextend or inefficient. You may not want to admit it, but you have chosen your life situations. If you are over extended it was your choice. There are three solutions that can help you “make the time.”
1. Organize your life to free up time
2. Eliminate lesser important activities
3. Change your perspective
Why you keep saying “but.” It’s a great reason not to take action. We all make time for what is important to us. If something is important to you and you are telling yourself you don’t have the time, you may be avoiding looking deeply at your reasons for both wanting and resisting this change.
“Great things have no fear of time.”
It may sound harsh, but the reasons you have been telling yourself you can’t change for years are nothing more than excuses. Take the challenge of living a life beyond limits and make the comittment today to say no to “but”!
“If you don’t go after what you want, you’ll never have it. If you don’t ask, the answer is always no. If you don’t step forward, you’re always in the same place.”—Nora Roberts