Excuses, Excuses, Excuses

Changing my career was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do.  You might be surprised to hear that leaving Dentistry was much harder than getting into it.  The process of entering the field took work and determination, but it went with the flow.  It was what I was supposed to do.  I felt proud and hopeful.  However, leaving it was rebellious, and I was going against the flow.  I felt ashamed and afraid.  Because of the fear and the challenges involved, I made many excuses that I thought were valid.  And dammit, they were important!  But those excuses became the shackles that kept me stuck.  Several months ago my career-changing, MD, blogger friend, Lumi, shared an excellent article about excuses and change.  Lumi closed the post with this:

In the spirit of moving forward in a new year, I’m including a link to Kathy Caprino’s most recent article, “The 8 Most Damaging Excuses People Make for Their Unhappiness.”  I have always found her insights to be spot-on when it comes to getting unstuck and allowing yourself the opportunity to have a happy and healthy career.

These words caught my attention.  “Getting unstuck and allowing yourself the opportunity to have a happy and healthy career”?  Yes, please!

If you feel stuck, do 1 thing today: make sure you read this article.

And then bookmark it, and read it again and again.

I try to imagine how I would react to the article if I were still stuck.  I think there would be part of me that might get defensive or defiant, further justifying why these weren’t excuses but instead my life circumstances that were impossible to overcome.  I might cling to them a little more before admitting the truth to myself, but eventually I would have to face the truth.  That is what I do when I am making excuses for myself to avoid change.  I like to wallow in my stagnation, wearing it like a badge of honor.  It feels safe and requires very little energy.

And that’s okay… until it isn’t.

But I’m not stuck anymore, and I see now that my rationalizations and fears really were excuses.  There is always a way to make change work for you, even if it does not seem like it at the time.

It’s just a matter of finding that right path and then doing it.  Just do it.  That slogan became famous for a reason, right?  Just do it!  Find a way.  In most cases it won’t be easy, but it will always be worth it.  In her article, Kathy Caprino points out:

“People who are able to make life change have a sufficient dose of clarity, confidence, courage and commitment.  Those four ingredients can make all the difference between a miserable life and a brilliant one.”

Yeah, right!  How many people truly possess those qualities?  That’s not very realistic.  But then she goes on to say exactly what I am thinking (much more eloquently than how it went in my head, I might add):

“Folks almost never start out with all of these assets, but their commitment to changing what hurts and limits them urges them into a flowing river of change that brings more clarity, which in turn gets them in touch with their worthiness and confidence, which then gives them access to more courage to create life as they want it.  Can everyone do this? Yes, everyone CAN, but only a few WILL.”

That is the key.  We are all capable.

So what are the 8 most damaging excuses?

  1. I don’t have the money to do this.  
  2. I’m not ready to do the work required to change.
  3. I’m afraid of what I don’t know.
  4. What if it doesn’t work out?
  5. What would people say if I did this?
  6. My family needs me to keep doing this.
  7. I don’t really believe it’s going to work out.
  8. This is just me – I can’t change it.

I admit I made every one of these excuses.  So go check it out, and make sure to come back here and tell me what you think.

Would you rather be someone who can change, or would you rather be one of the few who will change?


14 thoughts on “Excuses, Excuses, Excuses

  1. I’m a ‘what if this dosen’t work out’ person and the ‘devil you know is the better than the devil you don’t know’ person. I’ve always wanted to do my own business but never felt I had enough back up capital for if it went bad.

    1. I have had those same moments myself. Sometimes we don’t need or really want to change certain things though. Maybe that’s why the risk never outweighed the benefits of starting your own business??

  2. What do the four ingredients of Confusion, Self-loathing, Fear of change, and Ambivalence get you?….. oh yeah, a career in periodontics! 🙂

  3. Great blog post. Dentistry is a fun ,rewarding, creative profession. If we all could take the idiot patients out of the equation , most of us wouldn’t loath the day to day stress associated with playing the people’s mood games.

    1. Dr. Pam….. you are SO RIGHT. I never thought much of the ‘ one bad apple’ scenario. even when i was younger.. a few of ‘those’ patients circled on the schedule did not bring me down much. then by my mid-30’s it started easting at my soul. By the time I hit 50 in 3 years.. i will likely be practicing out of an iron lung machine.
      …..But Seriously, as LLB as pointed out thru the tapestry of this blog….. when you find “it/them’ following you around during the weekends… feeling the sunday night ‘dread’ creep back in (i had not felt since 1992 ,…dental school)
      I need to re-acess, but am trapped in a cage of my own making.
      At least I understand the ‘Marley’ figure from Dickens Christmas Carol a lot better.. in fact, i am downright empathetic 🙂

  4. Excellent post, I am going to bookmark the article and copy the excuses until I commit them to memory 🙂

  5. The ‘What if it doesn’t work out?’ thing has always been mine. It’s hard to just jump in. No doubt. Like you said, it’s easier to just have an excuse and say, “Well, I just can’t right now. Maybe next year.” The time is now though my friend. The time is now.

    1. Sound like someone is ready to go! That’s always been one of my things too… along with many others. It’s hard to make a move, but sometimes you just realize there isn’t any other way!

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