Be honest. How often do you sabotage yourself?
On any given day, you have tasks you’d like to finish because you know they’d positively impact your business, and tasks you actually do.
You trick yourself into thinking that keeping up with industry news, and reading the latest “10 tips to ______” post is “working”.
You know better, but some part of you believes that simply reading the article will help you move forward.
That having a deep understanding of all things online marketing will better position you when the time is right. When that time comes, you’ll be the supreme ruler of the internet, because you’re so well studied.
But that time doesn’t come.
Something is holding you back, and you can’t quite put your finger on it. So instead of moving past it and taking action, you make an excuse. You justify your reasons for staying put.
You may have one excuse; you may have several.
What follows are 106 of the most common excuses you might tell yourself.
YOU DON’T HAVE THE KNOWLEDGE.
There’s one word kicks this excuse right in the teeth.
If you can’t find a ton of free information on Google, find a book on Amazon.If Amazon doesn’t work, hire a coach.
Information is more accessible now than any other point in history, and most of it is free.
Spend time to find it.
Commit to learning it. Be equipped to tackle your challenge.
YOU CAN’T GET THE EDUCATION REQUIRED.
Maybe you don’t have internet, not everyone does (how are you reading this?)
In any case, there are these buildings with a number of books on a variety of subjects called libraries.
They’ll be thrilled to see you, and eager to help.
If you invest the time, a near college level education awaits you.
No it’s not as convenient as the internet, but learning anything worthwhile is seldom easy.
Also reading books will help to fortify your attention span, which is vital to your success.
YOU DON’T KNOW THE RIGHT PEOPLE
Like education, people are more accessible than ever before.
Nearly anyone you need to know can be found on Twitter, Facebook, or Linkedin.
Be on a mission they can’t resist being a part of, and you’re half way there.
With a little patience, and an awesome personality, you can connect with the right people.
It won’t happen overnight, but it certainly will happen if you want it bad enough.
YOU DON’T HAVE THE MONEY
Finances are a sensitive issue.
You might not have the money right now, but there are plenty of ways to increase your income.
If you have to scour freelancer sites to aquire a hundred dollars here and there, do it.
Any money you make freelancing, save it to put towards your dream project.
Can’t afford to do that?
Create a strict budget, and set aside a portion of your income.
Don’t believe what the news tells you, money is everywhere, and people spend it every day.
Right now, someone is hiring someone just like you.
YOU CAN’T AFFORD TO TAKE A RISK RIGHT NOW.
If not now, then when?
This excuse is fear of the unknown.
The reality is, you can’t afford not to take a risk right now.
If an idea really benefits people, pulling on the reigns doesn’t just inhibit your progress…it prevents people from improving their lives.
IT’S TOO HARD.
Anything worth doing is hard.
When was the last time “easy” had a huge payoff for you?
YOU DON’T LEARN THAT WAY.
Babies all learn the same way, trial and error.
They try, fail, and try again until it becomes second nature.
Anyone with an infant learning to stand, walk, or crawl right now will tell you their kid won’t stop, regardless of the number of times they fall on their face.
Babies don’t get the luxury of learning via webinar, audio, or having the process of written out.
They see others do it, and try it themselves.
As a former baby, I can say being receptive to any and all learning will greatly improve your ability to do anything you want.
SOMEONE ELSE IS ALREADY DOING IT.
Which came first, Copyblogger or Problogger? Dyson or Hoover? Groupon or LivingSocial?
Does it matter?
YOU DON’T KNOW WHERE TO BEGIN.
The human brain isn’t designed to process information in a linear fashion.
This is why when you dream, it doesn’t start “at the beginning” and you only remember how the dream ended, but never how it began.
If you’re looking to pick up a new skill, usually “the beginning” will make itself apparent, regardless of where you start.
Even better, because the way you process information is unique to you, your “starting point” could help you form a very unique perspective that people love.
Also consider the other people who “don’t know where to begin.”
By simply picking a place and chronicling your journey, you can inspire others to learn with you.
YOU’RE AFRAID OF WHAT YOUR CUSTOMERS WILL THINK.
It’s true, some changes should be gradual.
But if you a drastic change is what you need, your customers are probably already bored and looking for alternatives.
Do you think Apple feared their customer’s opinions before entering the Mp3 player market?
Didn’t think so.
YOU’RE AFRAID OF WHAT YOUR COLLEAGUES WILL SAY.
Peer validation is rarely the deciding factor in any entrepreneurial story worth hearing.
If you’re concerned with what your industry peers will think, don’t worry about it.
Sometimes disruption is exactly what your peers need.
NOBODY WILL BUY.
If people will buy the “Pet Rock” people will buy what you’re selling.
You just have to figure out how to position yourself, and why they need you.
NOBODY WILL CARE.
You’re right, nobody will care, IF you’re doing something for the wrong reasons.
Are you creating a product because you need the cash?
Nobody will care.
Are you promoting others simply to make yourself look good.
Nobody will care.
Are you sucking up to big names so they will promote your stuff?
Nobody will care.
Authenticity can’t be faked, and selfish motivations can be sniffed out from a mile away.
Be on a mission to make an impact.
Somebody will care, because they share your mission.
Now it’s up to you to find them.
BETTER TO BE SAFE THAN SORRY.
Imagine waking up tomorrow on the verge of death.
All your life you played it safe.
You stayed at your job, and did what you were told.
Sure you got promotions, but at your peak you still only made $60,000.
You had ideas, and watched them came to fruition… at the hands of someone else.
They created memorable products; you’re on your deathbed with nothing to show.
You’re unsure how you’ll pay for your funeral. You’re leaving behind a mound of debt, and you never figured out how to just get ahead.
Feel sorry yet?
THERE’S NO POLITICALLY CORRECT WAY TO PRESENT THE INFORMATION.
Realistically, that’s ok.
Politically correctness isn’t always the most effective form of communication.
Sometimes the non PC person is exactly the breath of fresh air the world needs.
PEOPLE AREN’T READY TO HEAR THIS.
It’s true, not everyone is ready to hear everything.
But if you’ve thought it, chances are you are not alone.
If you believe in it enough, one person at a time, you can build a following.
Truthfully, it’s usually the things people aren’t ready for that make the biggest impact on the world.
YOU CAN’T QUESTION THE AUTHORITY.
Nations were founded on questioning the authority.
Countless Rock stars, celebrities, and political leaders made their mark by disrupting the establishment.
If you start a business to free yourself, then dare not oppose the “powers that be”, you undermine the very spirit of entrepreneurship.
Question the authority! Break the rules!
Just make sure you have evidence to support your cliams, otherwise you’re just being a punk, and not in the cool way.
YOU HAVEN’T DONE IT BEFORE.
This is my favorite excuse, because it’s such a cop out.
Let’s look at some of the common milestones in your life that you got through just fine
- You went to school (hadn’t done that before)
- Had your first kiss (hadn’t done that before)
- Learned to drive a car
- Took up a new hobby
- Learned to read
Or really anything beyond lying on your back and flailing your limbs uncontrollably.
You hadn’t done anything before you did it. It’s simple, but it’s true.
This excuse is rooted in fear of the unknown.
Now it’s perfectly fine to be afraid, but “inexperience” is by far one of the worst excuses.
Life is built on a series of “firsts” and making the choice to limit your experiences only leads to dissatisfaction.
YOU’RE NOT THAT GOOD.
There are plenty of things people aren’t good at.
A.) Learn and get better or
B.) Find someone who is good and have them fill that role.
You don’t have to do everything alone. The best joint venture projects are simply two people with complimentary strengths.
So if you’re not that good, get better, or find someone who is.
YOU DON’T HAVE ANYTHING NICE TO SAY.
Just like challenging the authority, being brash is sometimes exactly what people need.
Too many people try to “do it right”, so do it wrong just to stand out.
There are plenty of people who make a career out of saying the wrong thing.
Just make sure there’s substance behind your message.
OTHER PEOPLE ARE MORE LUCKY.
Pure “luck” is a myth.
If someone is “lucky” they are doing stuff behind the scenes you’re not seeing.
Taking action and simply doing something instead of making excuses will do wonders for your “luck”.
Besides, other’s luck doesn’t directly impact you.
YOU CAN’T, YOU WERE RAISED DIFFERENTLY.
Obviously, follow your moral compass. Going against that isn’t what I’m suggesting.
What I will suggest is to seek alternatives that don’t oppose your belief systems.
If a company like Hebrew National can make kosher hotdogs, you can find a way to do what’s holding you back.
But if you’re using this excuse to stay in your comfort zone, I need to ask, “How much are you holding yourself back in the name of something else?”
YOUR GENDER WON’T LET YOU.
Gender roles are increasingly less relevant.
There have been women CEOs and male nurses for years. Men can start a daycare and women can start a design firm.
Blaming your gender simultaneously speaks poorly for your gender, and empowers those who refuse to fit a mold.
YOUR KIDS WON’T LET YOU.
No doubt, balancing kids with business is tough.
At the time of this writing, I’m a newlywed with an 11 month old son, my own business, and a new house. It’s a balancing act, but it’s doable.
It requires discipline and maximum use of “productive time”.
At the end of the day you may feel shattered.
Keep it up, you’ll build endurance.
It doesn’t just make you a better business person; it allows you to enjoy family time that much more.
YOUR SPOUSE WON’T LET YOU.
Now I’m not one to give marital advice, and you have to respect your spouse, but open communication can go a long way.
It’s important to communicate your passion. Get to the core of why it’s important to you and really open up.
Be willing to have multiple conversations about it, and really hear their reservations.
Come up plan for”worst possible scenario” together and keep your spouse informed on your progress.
Be prepared to let go of some ideas.
But dig deep into the important ideas, it’s a lot better than “Honey, can we do this…?”
YOUR PARENTS WON’T LET YOU.
…really? How old are you?
Ok, regardless of age, people have complicated families, I get it.
Sometimes parents aren’t as rational, or supportive, or open to new ideas as we’d like them to be.
This is no reason to sacrifice your success and happiness.
If your parents require you to show your respect by giving up on your dreams, then maybe you need to weigh the consequences of giving up versus going your own way. (Hint: we each only get one life, and this one is yours.)
YOUR DISABILITY WON’T LET YOU.
Josh Blue is a hilarious stand up comic with cerebral palsy, which most noticeably affects his right arm.
Nick Vujicic is a world-renowned preacher and motivational speaker who doesn’t have any arms or legs.
Kyle Maynard doesn’t have arms or legs either, and is a wrestler, MMA fighter, owner of a gym, a student, and a motivational speaker. Oh, and he’s 25 years old.
I’m 25 and have a rare brain condition, and I’m supporting my family and growing my business.
There are artists who create with their mouths, runners who win races on artificial legs,brilliant writers who’s fingers never touch the keyboard and a host of successful individuals with learning, cognitive, and emotional disabilities who refuse to let their situation hold them back.
Need inspiration? Check out The Badass Project at the website and on Facebook to learn about individuals who refuse to let their “disability” hold them back.
[INDUSTRY LEADER] SAYS IT WON’T WORK BECAUSE…
…because they haven’t found a way to make it work yet. Honestly.
Google was a search engine with a silly name back when we were using Lycos or Ask.com.
But they learned, grew, and evolved into something that has completely astounded us.
It’s weird to think that at one point industry leaders said Google wouldn’t work, isn’t it?
IT’S NOT FINANCIALLY SOUND.
I would never encourage you to gamble, but it’s rarely financially sound to strike out on your own.
Maybe you’re afraid that once you’re a Big Name and the money is rolling in, that you will get a few good years out of it before eventually fizzling out.
Do you realize that’s a possibility regardless?
THERE’S NO R.O.I
R.O.I is one of those funny acronyms people throw around without fully understanding it’s meaning.
To fully measure your R.O.I you need more funny acronyms called K.P.I’s (Key Performance Indicators).
These metrics help you gauge whether whatever you’re doing is working or not. Common K.P.I’s are more comments, more sales, increased traffic, and higher conversions. Each K.P.I is measured individually, and the number of factors that influence a Key Performance Indicator should be controlled to make testing easier.
Not having a Return On Investment is a perfectly sound reason not to do something. Just make sure you are using the term properly, and really looking at the whole picture before you pull that card.
THE MARKET CONDITIONS AREN’T RIGHT.
This one is tricky, because there are two schools of thought.
A.) Market conditions don’t really matter, just do it better than everyone else (Apple iPod)
B.) Market conditions are everything.
Not surprisingly there are also two types of people in the world. People who have money, and people who don’t. If the market conditions aren’t right for marketing to the people who don’t have money, create an offer and market to the people who do.
Don’t let your business fall victim to only one portion of the market.
YOU’LL NEVER GET THE RIGHT EXPOSURE.
TEENAGE POP STARS ARE BREAKING INTO THE CUTTHROAT ENTERTAINMENT BUSINESS VIA MYSPACE AND YOUTUBE.
IF YOUR EXPOSURE ISN’T HANDED TO YOU BY THE MERIT OF YOUR WORK, CREATE YOUR OWN OPPORTUNITIES USING THE TOOLS AVAILABLE TO YOU.
THERE’S NO POINT.
Not with that attitude, there isn’t.
The point is that you’re helping people. The point is that you’re doing something. The point is you’re being productive and taking action.
The point is you’re not living in premature self defeat. You are taking an idea from concept to actualization.
You’re bringing your ideas to the world.
Even if no one sees it, you can have the satisfaction of knowing you did something you believed in.
IT’S NOT IMPORTANT ENOUGH.
If it at some point you believed there was a need, there probably is.
Does it take too much to do it? Is it not convenient?
Is it important enough to let it keep creeping up and nagging at you?
Just do it already.
YOU’LL GET TO IT LATER.
No you won’t. You never do.
Get to it now, or at least schedule it to get done.
Then do it.
You’ll be a lot more satisfied when you’re finished.
You don’t want to be boring.
What’s boring to some is addictive to others.
People process information differently. If you skew towards boring it’s entirely possible to still find the right audience.
However if you skew towards boring, and you don’t want to, find ways to become more interesting.
Take an improv class, do some live Q&A’s, go bungee jumping… spice it up.
IF YOU CAN’T GET IT RIGHT THE FIRST TIME, WHY BOTHER TRYING?
Perfection is a myth.
Nobody actually “does it right”. That’s why there are so many grocery stores, soda brands, religions, and blogs.
It’s not about “doing it right” so much as it is doing it to the best of your ability.
Giving it everything you’ve got, regardless of the outcome, that’s the only way to do it right.
YOU’RE NOT READY FOR THAT LEVEL OF SUCCESS.
This is my personal favorite, and one I’ve used on multiple occasions.
If you say it, it’s true, you’re not ready for that level of success… right now.
Success is an iterative process, every step leads to the next step.
Every “Overnight success” will tell you the path to success was long, winding, and full of obstacles.
By the time you’re an “Overnight success”, you will have endured so much, overcoming challenges will be second nature.
Only one thing is guaranteed, it doesn’t actually happen overnight.
IF YOU SUCCEED, PEOPLE’S EXPECTATIONS WILL CHANGE.
They absolutely will, and they should.
If you’re positioning yourself as someone who changes lives, expect to play recurring role in the lives you’ve changed.
When you rise up to meet great expectations, you become great.
Of course, you have to manage expectations too. You can’t do everything all the time.
Push yourself to be more but never at the expense of what is most important to you.
IF YOU SUCCEED, MY RESPONSIBILITIES WILL CHANGE.
Not only to your customers, but to your personal life as well.
This isn’t a bad thing.
New responsibilities that improve people’s lives is a good thing.
Remember, it comes incrementally. It’s up to decide when to say yes and when to say no.
But don’t not do something because you don’t think you can handle the responsibility.
Give it a shot.
If it doesn’t work, be responsible to enough to find a suitable replacement.
YOU DON’T LIKE WHAT SUCCESS DID TO _______
You’re not them.
View their story as a cautionary tale.
If you see where they went wrong, you can do it differently.
There are learning experiences everywhere, and seeing someone lose their way can be one of the best.
YOU FEAR WHAT YOU MIGHT BECOME.
This excuse is a little deeper.
For some, success can unleash some pretty nasty inner demons.
Watch for the signs, and ask loved ones to keep you grounded.
For some, myself included, success can go the your head real quick.
Being reminded to do the dishes, taking out the trash, or cook dinner go a long way for me.
Remembering success in business doesn’t mean I’m above menial chores keeps me grounded.
Take it a step further and volunteer for a soup kitchen, or an animal shelter to disconnect from any superiority complex you might develop.
Help people without judgement and watch as they enjoy the person you become.
FAILURE WOULD DESTROY YOU.
Anyone who’s ever “made it” will tell you they’ve failed more times than they’ve succeeded.
Being destroyed by failure is a choice; the choice is to quit.
If you fail, fail.
Give it everything you’ve got, and let it become a disaster.
Watch it burn.Let it destroy you.
Then recoup, learn from your mistakes, and rise from the ashes.
Failure never completely destroys you, only the parts that weren’t doing you any good.
With every catastrophic failure, hindsight allows you to see where you went wrong.
When you rebuild, you’re that much closer to perfecting the system.
YOU’RE AFRAID OF BEING A 1 TRICK PONY.
This is one I’ve used many times.
It is possible to be a 1 trick pony, if you don’t strive to dig deeper.
Your messaging has more substance than it’s surface meaning. Draw inspiration from yourself.
Read old blog posts, listen to old interviews, dig for deeper meaning.
Don’t just look for what works, explore why it works, and contemplate the reasons why.
Soon you’ll be digging into the psychology of your customers, and creating content that resonates on levels you could have never imagined.
YOU CAN’T COMMIT RIGHT NOW.
Fair enough, you have a lot on your plate.
But when can you commit?
Don’t use this excuse to push something aside, if you don’t want to invest the time.
If it’s genuinely interesting, look at your calender and ask “when can I commit?” and put yourself on a productive path.
And if you don’t want to do it, be honest and admit you’re not interested.
People will always respect honesty over being strung along.
YOU HAVE TOO MANY THINGS ON YOUR PLATE.
YOU CAN’T COMMIT UNTIL YOU’VE SEEN ALL THE STEPS.
The road map to successful outcomes isn’t always available.
Granted, sometimes all of the steps are necessary.
More often than not, this excuse is to avoid risk.
If you’re presented with a coherent process that makes sense to you, and you still say no…then what?
Do you really need a formal business plan? Not always.
Some of the greatest products started as ideas that just evolved over time.
YOU’RE NOT A DETAILS PERSON.
Neither am I.
So look at the big picture, and find a “details” person.
Between the two of you, you’ll see the overall journey, and the little steps to take to get there.
YOU’RE NOT A BIG PICTURE PERSON.
Totally understand, not everyone is.
But you’re vital to the execution of any plan.
If you don’t see the big picture, find someone does; and rule the world together.
YOUR BEST IDEAS ESCAPE YOU.
Notebooks, smart phones, voice recorders, and napkins are wonderful tools for idea trapping.
Capture your best ideas, and revisit them later.
You will train yourself to better distinguish the good ideas from the bad, and your ideas will improve over time.
It’s amazing how much stuff you retain once you take the simple step of writing it all down.
YOU CAN’T COMMIT TO A SCHEDULE/CALENDER/ ETC.
I’VE USED THIS WAY MORE THAN I SHOULD.
First, Failure to commit to a schedule condemns your days to be cannibalized.
Second, when you’re successful, people want a piece of your time, all the time.
Your “schedule” doesn’t have to be super segmented. Just plan for some “production only” time,