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Do you ever ignore an opportunity? Or, worse yet, make excuses that keep you from facing fears that can come with an opportunity? I had an opportunity stare me right in the face last week and I found myself making excuses, backing away from it as if it were a threat instead of a gift.

We all have our list of excuses. I work with clients regularly who can instantly recite from their list of excuses. The list typically sounds something like this:

"Oh, I can't do that, I need to lose 20 pounds first."

"I'm too shy, I could never speak in front of a group that large."

"I don't have the money, time, energy, education...yada, yada, yada."

One thing I have found to be true is that people who have a long list of excuses rarely have anything else.

The gloomiest times in my life were the times that I let my list of excuses take over. I thought it was easier to say "I can't do this, that or the other thing" instead of taking responsibility for my quality of life. The longer I allowed myself to use my list of excuses, the more dismal my life would become.

I call it "all or nothing" thinking. We hold ourselves back from being who we want to be or doing what we want to do out of fear of not being able to be the best at it! We do it, just as I did last week, even when we know the negative consequences.

I've decided to do away with my list of excuses. No more "all or nothing" thinking. I don't allow my clients to do it, I won't accept it from myself and if you're reading this blog post, then put that list away! Forget the "all or nothing" thinking. Start thinking "big" from here on out!

If you want a rose garden, start with a rose bush. If you need a night out then find that "window of opportunity," as Debbie Nigro points out in her column "Player Mom."

If you want to go back to school but don't have the money, apply for financial aid. Don't say, "I can't go back to school until I make some money, and I can't make some money until I have a better job and I can't get a better job until I go back to school..."

There comes a time when excuses need to be laid to rest. Torch them, rid them of their significance and never voice them again. It will mean fulfilling your dreams, your purpose in life, becoming who you want to be and doing what you want to do. We have a choice: we can have the life we dream of, or we can have our excuses, but we can't have both.

Cathy Meyer is the head of About.com's Divorce Support channel.

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  • Comment Link Guest Thursday, 20 August 2009 03:40 posted by Guest

    have never thought about it: have never thought about it like that before. Thanks so much for the depth and understanding at which you covered the topic. it's a useful piece of information not only for me but for many others. have read a lot on the topic at different blogs and books but this piece really gives food for thought