Find A Way, Not An Excuse

My strength & condition instructor, Coach Leah “Needs More Weight” Taylor, told us a story about an athlete who made the impossible possible: a wrestler born with one leg. He started at 14, late in life for a wrestler, and went on to become a three time All-American athlete. (If you’re into sporting, that’s a big deal.)

Coach Leah concluded by telling the class, “If it’s important, you find a way not an excuse.”

People quit things all the time. I see it at the gym where I work and train.

Sometimes people quit, because they got what they came for. Kids stick around for a year or two. They grow, learn, and develop. The parents take them out of program, because they are ready to move on to the next thing.

Others come in overweight, out of shape, and crippled with insecurity. They leave as fitter, healthier, more confident versions of themselves.

Some people, though, quit before they even start. We’ve had a slew of people like that since the New Year’s. They pick up the phone and call us, thinking, This time it’s going to different, when they picked up the phone and called us.

They tell us how they’re overweight, or how they break themselves performing the simplest tasks, or on the verge of a nervous breakdown. I just need something for myself, anything that will give them more peace of mind.

You came to the right place! we tell them. Two hours a week that is all for you! Get stronger and clear your mind of all your troubles!

And before their payment has even cleared, they quit.

They make the usual excuses, don’t have the time, two hours a week is too much time away from my family, don’t have the money in our budget.

But those excuses don’t change anything in their lives. Those excuses don’t change the fact that they’re inactive and physically weak. Those excuses definitely don’t change the fact that the pressures of family and work have reached a critical point and their poor mental health is making them sick in ways they can’t even see.

If it is important, you find a way not an excuse.

A year ago, I was having a difficult time. I had to take a break from writing for a few months. It was difficult to come back to it. How to communicate with my audience when I wasn’t the person I once was?

But I missed writing on my blog, and while it wasn’t easy to press “Publish” on a post after a 6 month hiatus, I longed to connect with my audience again. I hoped that when I was vulnerable with them that they would receive it with compassion and grace. And they did.

If it’s important, you find a way not an excuse.

Nothing is going to change if you keep doing things the same way you’ve been doing them. Nothing is going to change if you keep finding an excuse.

How many of your excuses sound like the excuses above? It’s hard. I don’t have time. I don’t have energy. I don’t have any good ideas. People will criticize me. I’m not any good. No one will read it.

Those are excuses people give not just for writing or exercising but for anything that’s worth doing. The excuse is not going to push that obstacle out of your way. All it does is prevent you from reaching deep down and summoning the courage to face yourself. This is not the way.

Love of the work is the way.

When you feel like a monster for working on your writing instead of spending time with your kids, the love of the work is the way.

When you have terrible ideas and you feel like a hack, the love of the work is the way.

When you have critics and naysayers, the love of the work is the way.

When you hit “Publish” and hear the sound of crickets, the love of the work is the way.

The love of the work makes up for it all. The love of the work is enough to fuel the fire within you.

In all things, love finds a way. Love makes the impossible possible.

Photo credit: From Unsplash, by Adrien Ledoux

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