Change can be scary. For many, change is so scary that they find a place that they can be comfortable, sometimes so comfortable, that they miss out on fulfilling their deepest desires.
This becomes the excuse zone.
These are just a few things we might hear come out of the excuse zone:
“I make six figures.”
“I make a good living.”
“I’m being responsible.”
“I do this really well.”
“I like my job.”
These all sound like plausible reasons to stay put, but what if they are your safety net in the excuse zone? What if the excuse zone limits all of these statements? What if six-figures is just the tip of the iceberg? What if you could excel, with passion, and love what you do?
Is the story in your brain absolutely true? Would it be true if you were guaranteed that your deepest desire could come true? Or is it only true for right now, as what you have accepted as your truth?
If I told you that by this Friday, you would have $50 million in your bank account, no strings attached, and it was guaranteed and for you to use on anything you desire – tell me, would the statement still be true for doing exactly what you do today?
If the answer is yes, congrats! You are in the flow and following your passion. Passion turns work into success.
If the answer is no, especially if you say that you would quit your job, we’ve got some exploring to do to optimize your life.
Our safety net feels good. We know that we aren’t going to fail. We are making good money, doing well in our jobs, have the respect of others, but at the end of the day if you haven’t failed, you haven’t tried anything. This is especially true when we are comfortable and by all measures of others and the world doing well – but not living our truth.
Now, this doesn’t mean that today you need to quit your job and drop the safety net. There often is a way to get in the flow and live your purpose from your current experience.
When you are making good money, but not necessarily happy in your current position (the job that you would quit if you won the lottery), you have more financial resources – but believe it or not, it can actually be harder to shift to your purpose than for a broke person trying to make the shift. The excuse are much more plausible for someone doing well – at least they sound good and seem to make sense.
If your why is not big enough, your excuses will be.
Why do you do what you do? To support your family? Because it’s the only thing you know?
When we can be truthful about our ‘why’ we can move mountains.
Our motives are fed by beliefs. These include what we believe is possible and deep-seated beliefs of our value – and both may be rooted by someone else’s belief.
If you had $50 million in the bank, what is it that you would like to do? After you think of your initial purchases. If there was a business that you would love to start or something that you would like to do, what would it be?
Perhaps you’d like to feed the hungry or you’d like to build race cars. WHY?!
…and does what you would love to be able to do, if you had $50 million, differ from what you are doing today? If so, WHY?! – Did any of the excuse zone excuses come up? Remember, if your why isn’t big enough, your excuses will be!
When your ‘why’ does not align with your truth, you are out of the flow – and you can be doing pretty darned good out of the flow, but dissatisfied. Where do you think mid-life crisis comes from? You haven’t been living the life that you have dreamed of. You haven’t been living a fulfilling life, because it has been out of the flow, not based in passion, but out of necessity… and some do necessity REALLY well!
I have many multi-million-dollar clients that have done extremely well, but they are completely unhappy and dissatisfied. They make money well. That doesn’t mean that they are doing what they desire to be doing. That doesn’t mean that their passion is ignited, or they are in the flow.
Here are some steps that you can take to help you begin to gain clarity on your purpose and why:
- Find your what. Define what it is, that if there were no limits, what you would LOVE to do. Whether what’s limiting you is money, resources, practicality, or reality; whatever it is, without these limits, what would you do? This question is not designed for what you want – as in material possessions -that is a separate exercise. This is what you would do, for a job, or to give back, what is it that without limits, you would want to do?
- Find your why. Define the premise or theme behind what it is that you would want to do. Sometimes it’s literal, “I’d love to learn to fly,” because you literally think flying is awesome; and sometimes, it’s figurative. “I’d love to learn to fly,” because you long for a feeling of limitlessness and freedom. Spend some time on the why. This is super important.
- Be Honest and Non-Judgmental of Your ‘What’ and ‘Why.’ Don’t allow guilt, unworthiness, or any other judgement into your defining ‘what’ and ‘why.’
It is so easy to begin thinking super-critical thoughts- these are based on unconscious beliefs. These conversations in your head have no place (at this point) in your definitions.
Think with your heart and be fully honest, no matter how your what and why sound. Even if it seems like a silly ‘what’ or it sounds like a cheesy ‘why’ – above all else, keep it real and keep it honest.
- Inquire Within. Why have you not taken steps to pursue your what? No excuses. Even if they seem practical and realistic. If you haven’t FULLY investigated what it would take to learn to fly, how do you know what options exist? Or how might you overcome any obstacles so that you can do it?
If it was literal, and you are seeking freedom, ask yourself what activities can you think of that help you to feel free? Is there any activity that you could do today that would help you feel free? If physically unable – are you able to sit quietly and imagine yourself doing this activity in your mind? Perspective – think without limits and judgement of your current situation.
- Begin Living Your What and Why in Your Head. If today you were living your what, what would you need to do? Begin visualizing what your day would look like - the things that you would be doing or preparing for. If you were running a non-profit to feed the hungry, you would likely have a full calendar networking. Why can’t you begin finding out who you would need to know, now? Wouldn’t it be helpful for later for you to know that you need to know certain people or be familiar with certain organizations? Wouldn’t it be helpful to know that you could be volunteering, if even from home after a full day of work, now, to prepare you for what it is that you would like to be doing?
Headwork in visualizing and planning is NOT senseless daydreaming. People like Elon Musk do this regularly. How do you come up with a vision to go to Mars without putting a lot of thought into this and thinking about the details of people and organizations that he might need to learn about and get to know?
This is just the beginning of finding clarity and living the life of your dreams, but there has to be a beginning if you ever want to cross the finish line – and we all are going to cross a finish line. The question is, will your finish line be that of the rat race or the finish line to the life that you have always dreamed of?