I have a question for you.
How many of the below questions would you answer yes to?
- Do you have goals and dreams you want to achieve one day?
- Are you putting them off until "the right time", or saving them for when you're older or when your kids have grown up and left home?
- Are you making excuses for why you can't live your life exactly the way you want to?
(And by that I mean living a life you really want to live. Not just an "okay" life.)
- Do you ever list off a bunch of reasons why you can't do the things you'd love to do?
Before I go any further, let me clarify that there's nothing wrong with saying yes to the questions above.
Or for having excuses - sorry, reasons - why you can't do the things you'd love to do.
But be aware that they exist.
Be aware you're telling yourself these excuses (and probably on a regular basis too).
Why am I asking you these questions?
I was having a massage the other day and telling my masseuse about how I've decided to live life the way I want to.
I'm following my passion, moving away from the corporate world, and being truer to myself and doing what I really want to do.
I have inspiring people in my life, I'm achieving goals I never thought I could, and I'm starting to really pinpoint and do what I love.
My masseuse made the usual supportive and encouraging remarks.
And then she said something really interesting.
She said (and I'm paraphrasing):
"It’s so great that you’re doing this.
I have clients who come in all the time and talk about the things they want to do – but immediately afterwards they talk about all the reasons they can’t do them. It makes me really sad."
She went on:
"The funny thing is, they all give the same reasons as well, or something along the same lines – time, money, they have kids, they have a partner…
No one ever comes up with a genuine or different reason from anyone else!"
This was so interesting to me.
First of all... is this you?
Do you recognize yourself in the description above?
(No judgement; I get paralyzed by fear some days, and I know that following your dream is NOT easy.)
But it also made me think – isn’t it interesting that it was most of her clients?
Not ten, or twenty percent – but most of them?
The funny thing is, many of us go through life thinking:
“It’s just me that this special situation applies to… I can’t do ‘X’ because I have all these factors to consider – I’m different.”
But are we really so different?
Or are we all talking about our dreams, and in the next breath, providing all the reasons we can't do them?
It got me thinking.
About the different people in the world.
I believe there are two types of people - let's call them Category A and Category B.
Category A says: “Yes, I have dreams, but I can’t do them because…” [insert any number of popular reasons].
I think a lot of people fall into this category, unfortunately.
But then there’s Category B, who says:
“Yes, I have dreams – and yes, I’m going to find a way to do them. Even though it might be tough.”
I think Category B is a pretty small percentage of people.
So here's the upshot:
95% of people probably go to their masseur or chat to their hairdresser (or whomever) about the things they’d love to do – and then give the reasons why they can’t do them.
And 5% of people go out and DO the things they talk about – the goals they’d love to achieve, the big dreams they've decided to take action on.
Things like quitting the job they hate, running a marathon, travelling round the world, living in a different country, setting up a business, or writing their first book.
So, I'll ask you this important question:
What category would you like to be in?
And are you in that category now?
Or are you quite happy hanging out in Excuseland?
Now, I hear you.
Following dreams can be tough.
It might be a struggle.
And it definitely won’t happen overnight.
But where there’s a will, there’s a way.
(The clichéd phrases are overused because they’re true!)
So start thinking about this:
When are you going to stop talking about your dreams, and start putting them in place?
When you're older?
When your kids have grown up?
When you're retired?
None of those are really guaranteed in life.
Choosing to follow a dream or commit to a big goal is not an easy road, I know.
But my goodness, is it worthwhile!
So my challenge to you is:
It’s easier to be in the 95% of people.
Be different ;)
Be in the 5%.
Let’s make that number bigger.
How amazing would it be if 95% of people actually started taking action on and achieving their goals and dreams, rather than 5%?
Two last questions to think about...
Which category are you in: Category A, with the excuse-makers, or Category B, with the doers?
And are you going to stay there?
Claire O’Connor is a life coach, workshop facilitator and blogger at www.thefivepercent.net. She helps people get started on goals and dreams by tackling obstacles, building confidence, and providing encouragement, support and inspiration.