Excuses

Ir’s the last week of March. I’m about a week behind my goal of weekly blog posts. When I published Friday’s I was surprised to see my previous post had been 15 days earlier. I lost an entire week! And here I was talking about goal setting and planning this month, and obviously not quiet getting there myself. Life gets busy of course and there are some very legitimate reasons why we don’t get done what we set out to do. That’s why I will dedicate an entire post in the next month to allowing for some flexibility in your training plan.

If you remember our R.A.C.E mnemonic acronym (Realistic, Action, Commitment, Evaluation) from last week, you know it’s time for me to evaluate my progress. What was getting in the way? In looking at how I was spending my time, I realized there were other activities that were taking up my time — yet were still part of the journey toward my big goal of establishing my coaching business. I was putting time into new clients and I was spending some time in developing presentations that I can give on life transitions and running to local organizations (Chambers, Rotaries, Women’s Clubs, etc). That’s all okay and was part of the time I dedicate each week to my business. So what else?

I spent several days cleaning my office. Really cleaning it! Going through files and purging every piece of paper that no longer pertained to my career; stuff I had been holding on to for literally 20 years. Gone! It felt good. And now that I think about it, there’s probably a blog post in there somewhere. So all good, right? And that was a big time sucker! Time well spent, because now I can face my new career in an organized, clutter-free office. I will also probably get back a lot of the time I spent on the project when I won’t be required to spend a crazy amount of time looking for stuff. So good. Still an activity that gets me to my ultimate goal.

Then there are other activities that are important to me, that don’t quite support my business goals and personal vision, but honor my values and are important to me. First, I serve as the volunteer race director for my running club’s event, a 4 x 2-mile relay. That event was yesterday and it was a great success. In the weeks leading up to race day, I have a lot of lose ends to take care from ordering medals and portable toilets, to tracking registrations, securing refreshment donations, and managing the relationship with the park’s department. Plus I report to the club’s board regularly and run the show on the day of the event. I have to be super-organized so nothing falls through the cracks. I make lists of lists. Cross my Ts, dot my Is. Sometimes just thinking about an event like this in the days leading up to it can be enormously distracting. But it’s work I enjoy. It’s the one piece of my fundraising/special event management career that I hold onto. It doesn’t support where I want to be professionally, but it supports my running club’s activities, and I get a lot of personal satisfaction from that. So again. Time well spend. And a conscious choice to spend my time doing that and not writing my blog.

I’ve also gotten involved in an issue in my town that could effect property values. I feel I’ve sat on the sidelines too long, so I volunteered to chair the “outreach committee.” The fight on this issue supports my values and my need to feel like I’m doing something to affect change. I am making a conscious choice to spend time on this. A big chuck of my time is also taken up by my role as Mom. Maybe I should have led with that since it’s my number one priority and a big factor in all the other choices I make. I do try to get all of my other personal and professional tasks done during school hours so the time when she might be around is flexible.

So up to this point, I have made what appears to be a lot of valid excuses to why I’m not getting everything done. Add to all of that keeping up with my training schedule and I could easily say, “I don’t have enough time.” But we all have the same 24 hours in every day and many use that time much more productively and seem to achieve so much more. What makes the difference?

Sure, some of it is in the planning and the choices we make; deciding to spend time on things that make us happy, but don’t lead to our big goals. When we start saying things like, “I don’t have enough time” however, we’re listening to our saboteur, our gremlin, “the dark side” or as author, Seth Godin, calls it in his book Linchpin, “The Resistance.” It’s that voice inside your head that makes excuses for you. I’m too old. I’m too young. I’m too fat. I’m too slow. I don’t have enough time. I don’t have enough money. I don’t have enough talent. I can’t do that! Saboteurs are the biggest challenge facing my clients. They come out of fear. Fear of failure. Fear of success. Fear of emotions. Sometimes they are hard to see because they hide well behind what appears to be legitimate excuses. It often appears like we don’t have time to get it all done. But do we really? As we hear ourselves making excuses, we need to pay close attention, shut down those voices and question our authentic selves. What do you really want? What is really getting in the way? The answers help us clarify our priorities and uncover what we fear. We need to acknowledge our fears and the challenges we are having in order to move forward.

The static from the radio is the things we do on a daily basis that moves us no closer to our goal than yesterday. It is the unproductive habits. The sleeping in late, the habitual scrolling through social media, the watching too much television, the procrastination of what can be done today and telling ourselves “I’ll do that tomorrow.” – From The Seeds4Life. Read more here.

Me? No excuses. I will admit to spending too much time on Facebook, and too much time analyzing my NCAA Tournament brackets in the last couple weeks. I’m not going to waste time analyzing why at the moment. At my best, I know I am disciplined and focused. I learned a technique from another coach that helps us make a habit out of being our best. At my best, I am (fill in the blank; I will (do one thing each day supporting that). So if I wanted to get back to a better fitness routine, that might look like, “I am an athlete; I will do 30 minutes of some sort of exercise each day.” My effort to get back to my regular blogging routine, might be “I am committed; I will write down one idea each day for a blog post.” And maybe, just maybe, I will have one more thing to write about before this month is over.

IMG_6132The De Novo Harriers 4×2 Relay Course. Saddle River County Park, Rochelle Park, New Jersey. March 2017.

 

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