A Coaching Power Tool Created by Carmen Barbati
(Life Coach, ITALY)
If it is important to you, you will find a way. If not, you will find an excuse- R. Blair.
This power tool wants to help people to overcome the bad habits of making excuses, instead of taking action, get unstuck and start making some real progress in life.
Definition of Excuse: “A reason or explanation given to justify an action”.
Excuses are rationalizations we make to ourselves about people, events and circumstances. They are invented reasons we create to defend our behavior, to negate our responsibility or just to avoid taking a particular kind of action. For example: someone asks you why you failed a test. Thinking about the reason maybe you feel uncomfortable and your subconscious quickly tries to protect your sense of self from being attacked or criticized, and you blurt out something like: “ the test was unfair!”. This shifts the focus from your lack of preparation to the external source (injustice) that was ultimately out of your control.
Excuses can be seductive. And when someone embellishes an excuse with great reasons, they seem so legitimate but the reality is that this behaviour is an obstacle to our performance, motivation, it kills our projects, it stops us from starting what we set out to complete. With this kind of mindset we don’t move forward, we lose control over our life and we don’t make progress.
Progress is defined as: ‘movement toward an improved or more developed state’.
Progress often involves some element of risk. You can’t get to second base and keep your foot on first. – F. Wilcox
Making progress means take responsibility for your actions and It’s only when you accept that everything is up to you, that you are able to get rid of the negativity of excuse making that can so often prevent you from succeeding; when you eliminate this bad habit then you can replace it with a behavior that focus on solutions . Solutions are in the positive and high energy field and bring new ideas.
Another important way to move forward is by identifying the things that you can change to get a better result next time and learn from your failures: they make you stronger, more resilient, experienced and skilled. Switching your approach will allow you to take consistent, and focused action to move closer to your goals, it will lead you to a better plan, a better path toward achieving your goal.
Making progress is a choice you make and It’s about you connecting to what you really want. It’s a skill that you can learn and apply to any area of your life, no matter the circumstance.
What’s behind our excuses?
Don’t worry about failures, worry about the chances you miss when you don’t even try –Canfield.
Excuses are in essence a way of placing blame OF an internal problem ON an external condition and the main reasons why we lie to ourself are:
- Fear of Failure
- Fear of Embarrassment
- Fear of the unknown
- Fear of Success
- Fear of Change
- Fear of Responsibility
- Fear of Making Mistakes
- Perceived lack of confidence or resources
Start where you are with what you have because what you have is plenty – A. Ashe.
Here are some examples of “mind traps” that prevent the clients from moving forward and what can we do, as a coach, about them:
1) The first step in coaching is creating awareness through questioning. The client needs to become conscious of this kind of mindset. Make him aware that he is at the mercy of thoughts like these can be the trigger for change and actions.
- How important is this for you? How badly do you really want this?
- How do you feel? What’s holding you back from doing that?
- Do you know the outcome or goal you are after?
2) Help the client to overcome his fears. The less fearful he is , the less he’ll hide behind excuses.
- What does fear look like for you?
- What you will gain by not doing it. And what will you gain by doing it?
- What will you lose by not doing it?
3) Help the client to accept responsibility for mistakes and failures and learn from them.
- What could you have done differently?
- What do you need to do next to ensure you grow from it and are stronger as a result?
- What have you learned from this experience about yourself?
When the client take full responsibility for his actions he starts to gain confidence in himself and his own abilities. He begins to feel empowered and in control of his life avoiding blaming others or external factors for what happens to him (and then making excuses).
4) Help the client to focus on solutions and opportunities. It’s a simple shift, but it will help to change perspective of the situation.
Living an extraordinary life, having an extraordinary career or extraordinary relationships, these things do not happen by making excuses. They happen by adopting a no-excuse attitude, asking yourself how you can take it to the next level, and then acting on the answer , making progress.
Where focus goes, energy flows.– T. Robbins