He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else. ~Benjamin Franklin
I used to live as a slave to fear. There were a lot of things in life I wanted to try, but fear always kept me stuck. Perhaps you can relate?
I didn’t realize how badly this affected me until I met my husband Aaron. He is a risk taker and life lover with two key mottos: “Try everything in life at least once” and “You can’t say you don’t like something if you’ve never tried it”.
As Aaron is an avid scuba-diver, and I was petrified of water, I often found myself using every excuse under the sun to explain why I wouldn’t ever try diving. He would smile, frown or laugh at all my creative excuses. One day he just gave up attempting to convince me of how incredible the underwater world is, and said: “Oh well, you’re the one who will die without ever having experienced the marvel of seeing life under the sea”.
The sad thing was that while I was dead afraid of the water, particularly the ocean, I was also equally fascinated by it! Instinctively I knew diving would open up an amazing experience for me, but I wasn’t willing to allow myself the chance to face my fear. I hid behind excuses.
5 Empowering Questions to Challenge Your Excuses
One day sitting on the beach, watching Aaron dive, I realized that I was being my own worst enemy. I started having a debate inside my head. Here are the 5 questions I asked myself. You can use these same 5 questions to challenge your own excuses for what you say you wouldn’t or couldn’t ever do…
1. If I were to die right now and I hadn’t done “it”, how would I feel?
I had convinced myself that not learning to dive was a great decision, that diving and seeing underwater were unimportant to me. I was lying to myself. To me, there was nothing more interesting, but I was being a chicken. I knew I would feel immense regret if I didn’t give it a go.
2. If I did “it”, would I feel more excited about myself and life?
I was living in an illusion that I was happy with who I was being, and that I didn’t need to do anything crazy to prove myself. I was right in the “not needing to prove myself”, but I was incorrect in saying I was happy with who I was being… because I was being a fearful shell of the real person I am. I was not allowing myself to step up and really experience all that life had to offer. If I did it, I knew I would feel super amped about myself and life!
3. If I knew I couldn’t fail and wouldn’t die in the process, would I give “it” a go?
I was irrationally attached to the thought of dying while diving! Perhaps a little melodramatic, but I had terrible childhood memories of badly run swimming lessons and almost drowning as a toddler from falling in a pool. This created an instinctive fight for survival whenever my head went under water. However, the deeper part of me knew that the “I might die” excuse was nonsense because people die every day around the world, and with an instructor by my side I would be very safe.
4. Do I believe I have the strength and courage to do it?
It was all too easy pretending that I wasn’t brave enough, that I wouldn’t be able to physically control myself and decisions in the water because of fear. The hilarious thing was that I was strutting around in every other area of my life with self-belief and incredible determination. Yet, here I was playing weak and meek regarding diving. I realized that “not being brave enough” was a lame excuse.
5. Do I think mastering this would help me in other areas of my life?
I had always convinced myself that you should stay away from what you fear, and stick to what you know and trust. However, when I got really honest with myself, I realized that my life was a safe little box that I was staying very comfortably within. Unless I started to do things differently, I wouldn’t grow as a person and I wouldn’t know what more I was capable of. I realized that when fear roars at you, it’s time to step up and face it, because that is the exact spot where life begins… at the end of your comfort zone.
Ditching Excuses to Start Living
Having challenged all of my own excuses and seeing how hollow they were, I finally did it! It took all my courage and will power to complete the diving certification and while it was the most fear striking experience of my entire life, it was also the most exhilarating and freeing. I believe there is nothing in this life now that I cannot achieve, having faced my biggest fear. I no longer allow excuses to cover up opportunities for growth. If I did it in the face of a fear this big, you can too!
I would love to know what are some of the excuses holding you back. Join the conversation in the comment section below 🙂