As a Coach, I hear a lot about why someone can’t make that big life change they are craving to make, and I am here to tell you that all of those reasons “why” are just a way to keep you stuck somewhere that feels “safe” or “secure” to you even though it is probably making you miserable. Whether it be in a toxic relationship or soul-sucking job, you stay stuck in the miserable.
And why do we perceive something that makes us miserable as safe? This goes back millions of years. As humans, we were conditioned starting back in the stone ages to recognize a threat. Back then, the threat was usually in the form of a saber-toothed cat or a prehistoric giant bear. However, for generations, those threat detectors have been genetically passed down to us and reside in the part of the brain called the Amygdala.
And why do we perceive making a big life change as a threat? One word: uncertainty. Uncertainty of what is on the other side of that change. Uncertainty of how to make the change. Uncertainty to how others will react to the change we want to make. Our brains (thank you, Amygdala) are wired to stick with certainty to keep us safe. However, when you embrace uncertainty, it is really just an opportunity for growth.
And how do we react to that perceived threat? We run the other way, just like the homo erectus ran from the saber-toothed cat. There are various automatic responses and behaviors that occur to make us avoid the threat as well as cope with our current situation. I call these auto-response barriers. They keep us safe and hold us back. There are several different auto-response barriers and they are unique to you and your experiences.
Out of those auto-responses, I most commonly hear these excuses as to why the change you need the most is the one you are running from:
I don’t have the money. That’s the one I hear more times than not. It’s an easy excuse because money can be very triggering. However, let me ask you this… what would the cost be to you to stay in that soul-sucking job for another 3 years? Or stay in that toxic relationship another 2 years? At the end of the day, money is just energy. It comes and goes. Just as we were conditioned to perceive threats, we were also conditioned by our hunter-and-gatherer ancestors to be resourceful. There are ways to come up with the cash when we need it most, but it takes work, discipline, and sometimes vulnerability. Cut the subscriptions you don’t really need. Make coffee at home instead of driving through Starbucks everyday. Pick up a side hustle for supplemental income. There are ways. Also sometimes, the money is available, but you are scared to invest in the transformation. Either way, it’s your auto-response barriers making you collapse and stopping you. Don’t let them!
I don’t have the time. This is the second most common excuse I get. Everyone has the same 24 hours in a day available as the next person. Some just manage it better than others through their choices. You will never “find” the time. You have to MAKE the time for a life transformation. In this demanding world, there are boundaries that need to be setup to protect our time. That often involves not being afraid to say no to a request or invite in order to open up your time for this change. The amount of time could vary by day. Those days you have little open time, just take action on one thing. ONE SMALL THING towards the change you want to make. If it’s leaving a toxic marriage, that one small thing could be to clean out one drawer so there is less clutter to worry about. If it’s leaving a soul-sucking job to start a business, that one small thing could be to open a social media account for that new business. One small thing a day over several days will lead to change in no time. Your auto-response barriers want you to delay your dreams. Don’t let them!
I need the perfect plan. We are taught in school to get straight A’s and high test scores so that we can be accepted by a good college and ultimately feed into the corporate workforce. Out of this conditioning, many of us become very Type A and need everything to be perfect, including putting a tremendous amount of pressure on ourselves to be perfect all of the time. However, we all know we are not perfect, so to expect to have a perfect plan before you can make a life change will never happen. What this does is just creates overthinking and over-complication, when in reality you just need to start. It will not be perfect, and that’s okay. Your auto-response barriers want you to stall for the perfection. Don’t let them!
I need to gain the confidence first. The problem with this one is that confidence will not come until you implement. What you really need at this stage is courage. The courage to take the action steps towards the change even though you are terrified. Once you begin to see the results of your hard work, that is when the confidence will come in. So if you wait for the confidence to come first, you will never implement the change. Your auto-response barriers want you to feel unworthy and not ready. Don’t let them!
There are more excuses I have heard, but these 4 are by far the most common. At the end of the day, these excuses are just that, excuses. If you want something bad enough, you can bypass the Amygdala, embrace the uncertainty, and overcome your auto-response barriers that create these excuses. It takes hard work, boundaries, imperfection, and courage. There is no doubting that, but it is possible. I’ve witnessed numerous people, whether guests on my Discover What’s Possible podcast or clients of mine (and even myself), overcome these excuses to take action towards that better life, and attain it. You can too! You can overcome and discover what’s possible for you! And I would love to support you in that. Visit corynquester.com/connect to sign up for a free coaching session with me to get started now!