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How often do you undermine yourself?

Categories: Career, Hacking Life, Making Time, The Juggle, Working? Living?


Chris Brogan recently featured a brilliant post written by online marketing strategist Tommy Walker about the 106 excuses that prevent you from ever becoming great. It’s an eye-opening read, because I’ve heard myself say some of them time and again, but hadn’t really thought of the way I was undermining myself with my own words. Words like these:

I don’t know the right people.

I don’t have the money.

I can’t afford to take a risk right now.

I don’t know where to begin.

I’ll get to it later.

I have too many things on my plate.

I don’t have time.

The post has 99 more, but those were the ones that really stood out for me. They’re completely valid excuses but, as Walker points out in the post, each and every one of them has a pretty simple solution. It’s just a matter of making yourself overcome your own obstacles.

“I don’t have the money” and “I don’t have time” play on a nearly constant loop in my head. They’re reinforced every time I put on my “primary breadwinner” hat and pay the bills, every time I look at my to-do list and try to figure out what I can put off for another day. I know that I’m willing to work hard and spend the time and money that I have on the people I care about, but I am reluctant to invest even half that time or money in myself.

To wit: I am interviewing first lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden at the White House next week, and only just now, right this very minute, did it occur to me that maybe I should invest in something a little nicer to wear than the power suit I put on whenever I have to be on camera. But “I don’t have money for that,” was the first thing that popped into my head. And when I reminded myself of the gift certificates I had stashed away, my excuse changed to “I just don’t have time to go shopping.” And it’s true, I don’t. But in order to make a good impression at what’s probably a big career-boosting event, maybe I should make a little time instead.

What are the big excuses you use to stop yourself from doing things? How do you overcome them?

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2 comments so far...

  • I have told myself lots of times “it won’t be good enough.” I used to actually spend time developing stuff and then abandon it in the final 10% of the work, because it wasn’t good enough for me to risk displaying it. Then I just quit wasting time on those types of pursuits, rather than get frustrated that they didn’t go anywhere.

    I’ve also passed on possible job opportunities because I didn’t want to go through the stress of having to get up to speed and make myself vulnerable to new people. Even if I know I can handle the job, I don’t want to be bothered about whether I’m giving a good impression, getting into the office early enough, wearing an appropriate suit, not looking tired all the time (I have chronic dark circles under my eyes). It’s easier to stick with the status quo.

    I am a different person than I was 5+ years ago. My ambitious side has diminished a lot. I’m not unhappy, just more content with less. I don’t feel like chasing after something I don’t actually need. I have bought into the idea that we can change the world one small act at a time.

    SKL  |  October 27th, 2011 at 4:09 pm

  • Actually nothing prevents you from being great, you are always great!!!!! Even if you do nothing you are great. So look at what you are doing and work from there, not what you want or what you aren’t.

    xoxo kt

    Katie  |  October 29th, 2011 at 10:15 am