Want to know how to turn your excuses into an advantage?
Yesterday I did a free coaching session with someone who was unhappy with his dating life. As we discussed what his challenges were, it became obvious that he was letting a lot of external excuses hold him back.
(An external excuse is a belief that external factors such as other people, money, infrastructure or other circumstances are preventing you from achieving your goals.)
“There aren’t a lot of people here where I live,” he said, “and the weather is bad most of the time which makes people stay at home a lot. So that makes it hard to meet someone, especially someone who is my type.”
I paused, having visited his city several times for work I know both that it has plenty of people, and that the weather isn’t much worse than most other Norwegian cities.
He sighed, and before I could answer he put my thoughts into words, “I know those are just excuses. But I can’t shake them, I’ve tried to ignore them and logically I know they’re not really real. But they feel real.”
I immediately knew what the problem was: like most people he thought that his excuses had to be a hindrance. He didn’t realize that they actually hold a lot of power that we can use for our own benefit if we approach them in the right way.
You see, it’s very hard to ignore or think away an external excuse for why we can’t do or have what we want. Something that is far easier is to use the external excuse as leverage to make our efforts even better.
How to do it.
First, we identify what the external excuse is. Let’s use one of my client’s excuses, namely “there aren’t enough women who are my type in the city that I live.”
Second, instead of trying to disprove the excuse – think about what you’ll have to do to overcome it if the excuse is real.
So, if my client was right and there were very few women that were his type where he lived, what would he have to do? What would that mean?
Well, it would make it that much more important that he actually talked to the women who might be his type.
Every single woman he sees that he feels might be a good match for him should be approached. And he should be highly motivated to do this because she’s a rare commodity and if he lets her walk past without talking to her, he’ll miss out on one of the few chances that he’ll have to meet someone.
Now, in reality, we all understand that in a city of 130 000 people there’s going to be plenty of women that’ll be a good match for him. But reality doesn’t matter in this case since we’re not trying to disprove his excuse, but rather turn it into a driving force for action.
Odds are that over time my client will start feeling differently. If he actually makes an effort to talk to more women (instead of giving up before he even tries), he’ll start noticing just how many of them are around. And how many of them are interesting people.
The excuse will die off, taking any sense of frustration and urgency with it, but he will have created a habit of talking to those he finds interesting – and that habit will likely stick.
This simple 2-step method works for basically any external excuse we have.
So what’s an external excuse of yours? And what kind of action would you have to take if it was true?
Go take that action.
And if you want my input on your excuse, I’ll be happy to give it to you. Simply reply to this email and let me know what your excuse is and which action you think you should take to overcome it, and I’ll give you my thoughts on it. And if you can’t think of an action, that’s ok too (but give it your best try!), we’ll figure it out together.
Oh, and starting next week I’m opening up a bunch of slots in my calendar for free coaching sessions again!
So if you haven’t had a free session with me yet but would like one, click here and pick a time that’s good for you. This is a full-on coaching session with no other requirements or expectations other than that you show up on time, and that you’re ready to be honest and engaged so that I can help you move forward in your life.