Hope Springs Internal™

March 21, 2011

Living the Life You’ve Imagined

Filed under: coaching — by latancs @ 9:29 am
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By Linda Tancs

It’s time to start living the life you’ve imagined – Henry James, author

Are you living the life you’ve imagined?  If not, why?  Is it lack of courage—or encouragement?  Let’s face it; it’s easy to play it safe.  But as the expression goes:  no guts, no glory.  Take a look at the excuses you use to keep from realizing your dreams.  I’m too old (or young)I don’t like riskMy family would never approve.  I don’t have enough moneyI don’t have enough influence. It’s all been done before.  I’m not that talented. What excuses do you make?  We all have hopes and aspirations.  The next time you contemplate yours, be very conscious of the excuses that creep into your thoughts.  Chances are, you haven’t given them much thought or even accepted them as excuses because they’ve become so much a part of your daily thought process.  Or you may have “inherited” one or more of your favorite excuses from a potentially well-intentioned friend or family member.  However, excuses derive their power from you—and only you.  And only you have the power to banish them.  Therefore, once you’ve identified your excuses, be prepared to challenge them.  Sure, many folks will say, “It’s not an excuse; it’s actually a fact.”  Take, for example, I’m too old.  How can you be sure of the truth of this statement?  Like a detective, seek the evidence that bears it out.  In other words, be sure to separate facts from feelings.  Do your homework.  How many others with aspirations like yours accomplished their goals at the same age—or even older?  Look for stories on your topic on the internet, in business journals, blogs, social networks, and so on.  Only after you’ve exhausted your fact-finding mission and found no evidence to refute your excuse should you even think about accepting it as a cold, hard fact.  If that’s the case, then consider whether your statement is really more a reflection of your own lack of desire to accomplish something.  Are you striving towards your own dream or trying to achieve something for someone else?  Is the task really doable?  For instance, you probably won’t be a five-foot-tall basketball star.  There’s no need to waste time with excuses based on someone else’s agenda or your own actual (rather than conjured) limitations.  In all other cases, continue to think big and look for inspiration.  Remove the word can’t from your vocabulary, as a high school teacher once exhorted me to do.  As the writer Frank Scully once remarked, “Why not go out on a limb? Isn’t that where the fruit is?”

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