What’s Your Excuse Story?

Are excuses keeping you from moving forward? It's probably because of the stories that need a new ending.

Our lives are directed by the stories we believe. We then make choices based on those stories. Good, bad, or indifferent, stories run our lives. However, can’t stories be changed?

You may have heard horror stories about completing your doctoral study. There are plenty of those out there. However, in residency, I remember a couple of our instructors telling us it really isn’t that difficult if you simply use the templates, follow the Rubric, and use the tools that are available to you. They make it seem doable.

I then get home and start to write. There is too much information in my head from residency. People in my class discussion boards are complaining. The dishes are piling up in the sink. The deadlines in my job are pressing down on me. And, I have an assignment due. A choice now needs to be made – freeze, flight, or fight.

If I truly want to complete my study, I need to face my stories. If the stories are telling me there is just too much to do, I may shut down and simply freeze. Instead of spending my valuable time writing, I spend it complaining about having too much to do and then nothing gets done. I can also opt for, “this is too hard” and simply quit, take flight. I threatened that one a time or two. Or, I can realize that I chose to be here, I qualified to be here, there are many people that will never get the opportunity to be here, and I can pull out my skillsets and fight through to completion. The choice is mine and will depend on the story I believe.

Here’s a quick experiment. Take out a piece of paper and a pencil/pen. No, do not type this as I want you to feel it in your hands. When you have something to do that you are struggling with, write down the first things that come to your head. Just scribble it out and take a look at it. What is the story in your head – your thoughts? Are they positive, negative, or neutral? Take the positive thoughts and circle them. Take the negative thoughts and cross them out. Take the neutral thoughts and underline them. Then, take the negative thoughts and turn them into a positive statement. Example: As I sit down to write, my first thought is that the dishes are piling up in the sink. Even though it’s true, I cross it out and rewrite, “I will do the dishes at 9:30.” I then circle that statement. I then read my underlined statements and add to them if I need to turn them into a positive or schedule them. Deal with them and release them. With the paper in my hand, I now read out loud the circled items. I put this positive energy into the air, say a prayer of thanksgiving to God for giving me this opportunity to now write, and I commence my writing. I literally write my story with positive energy to help me chose to fight through whatever is difficult. I control my excuse story.

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