Excusitarianism

When I was certified as a Life and Weight Coach, I assumed that I would primarily coach people who wanted to transition to a vegan or WFPB (Whole Food Plant Based) diet. I had committed to eating vegan in my mid-50’s after never believing it would be possible for me to give up eating animal products.

Before I committed to eating vegan I considered myself:
vegetable forward
primarily vegetarian
pescatarian
or
“excusitarian.”

Meaning, in my case, that I ate vegan unless I had a good excuse: traveling, a guest at someone’s house or party, the gift of a cake or cookie.

I told myself that if someone else’s feelings might be hurt by my refusing to eat animal products that was a valid “excuse” and I could eat it. I had an excusitarian diet for quite a while until I stopped eating excuses.

As it happens, not one of my current clients is looking for help in committing to a vegan diet. To be sure several of them have chosen to work with me partially because they know I eat vegan, but that is not the focus they are trying to achieve through coaching.

Most of them, however, are excusitarians. We probably all are in one area or another. We have an identity or commitment or a goal and we are all-in except for when there is a good excuse.

I am all for a good excuse and as a Life Coach I am not here to judge your excuses. If you like your excuse, I love it. But if your excuses are standing in the way of your goals, your integrity with yourself, your values or your relationships then coaching can help you see what thoughts and feelings are fueling those excuses.

If an excuse keeps coming up for you as a problem, it’s just a thought you keep telling yourself.

They will be annoyed.
I don’t have enough information.
I work so hard I deserve it.
I’m just trying to get through the week.
It will take too long.
I have a family.
I don’t have a family.
No one is going to take me seriously.
It’s no big deal.

The list of excuses is literally endless. What is your favorite excuse? I have one in particular that I’ve practiced for decades.

My time is not my own.

With that excuse based on years of finding evidence for it as a wife, mother, business owner and property manager I have wasted all kinds of time. Sure I could tackle that project or commit to that goal, but my time is not my own and the minute family/business/property need me I won’t be able to do it and so why bother.

My time is not my own.

I am still a practicing excusitarian when it comes to my writing goals among other things, but at least I’m on to myself. (More about that next week)

Working with a Life Coach is the best way I have found to discover the excuses that are undermining your goals, creating self-doubt, and sabotaging your results.

In the meantime, if you’re a practicing excusitarian, ask yourself what the thought is that comes up repeatedly when you bail out on yourself.

I would, but (your excuse here).
I wanted to but (your excuse here).

Practice noticing the excuses.
I promise you can keep any excuse you consciously decide you want, because an excuse you decide you want is a DECISION.

“Wake up text”

A lot of cliches get thrown around in Coaching. I think of myself as having a low cliche tolerance, but the reason certain phrases become cliches is that they are really accessible apt ways of expressing something that is quite profound and universal.

Some that come to mind:

What you resist persists.

No “shoulding” on yourself.

You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.

FOMO / YOLO

Wake up call.

We all understand that a wake up call can come at any time of the day. Sometimes a wake up call is a diagnosis, or a “moment of clarity.”

A wake up call can be a bad performance review or failing a test.

A wake up call is typically a message we receive with some sort of negative news that reminds us that it’s time to get conscious about something and show up fully awake.

This afternoon my husband and I received a wakeup text message. A long time dear friend, a raconteur known for his mischief and wit, his endless interests, love of travel, and devotion to family and friends had died prematurely. Unexpectedly.

Immediately we thought of our own loss and then the loss to his closest family and friends. We found ourselves thinking in cliches:

My condolences.
Our sympathies.
Thoughts and prayers.

But for me, it was a wake up text.
Memento Mori. Remember, you will die.

That admonition of the Stoics has been bandied about for a couple millennia so I guess that also counts as bit of cliche.

If there is something I still want to do on this earth (and there is), best get busy.
That’s how I can honor our dear friend.

This isn’t a dress rehearsal (sorry, last one).

The Cure for Common Confusion

How’s my business going? I’m kind of confused about my marketing.

How’s my book? I’m a little confused about whether to self-publish or find an agent.

House search? I’m not sure what the best investment would be, it’s a bit confusing.

Confusion is always a lie.
It’s just a socially acceptable, culturally plausible way of going unconscious.

Confusion is a process of too many options and too many distractions.
BLISS! We can go unconscious and say:

I WOULD do X, but I’m confused about how to go about it.

You wouldn’t want me to to make a decision without looking into literally every possible option on the planet, would you?

And with this confusing decision hanging over my head, I just need a little fun.

A little something to take the edge off.
Maybe a little mindless internet shopping, some entertainment eating, binging on TikTok videos or Netflix, games on the phone.

The cure for common confusion is to stop going unconscious and make a decision.
Confusion hides decisions behind too many options and too many distractions.

What options can you take off the table right now?

What distractions can you turn off right now?

Notice what comes up for you. It usually starts with, “But… but… but…”.
So if you want to argue for your confusion, be my guest. I understand.

I also understand that confusion is a lie that keeps you from building the life you want and it starts to disappear the minute you commit to making a decision.

Not making a decision = making a decision to NOT get what you want.

Working with a Life Coach is one of the best decisions you can make if you are suffering from common confusion.
Just that one decision positions you towards a commitment to the next decision and the next.

Until then, commit yourself to getting out of unconsciousness.
Start limiting your distractions and start ruling out some options.

Decisions are the Cure for Common Confusion.
Warning – Unimaginable Momentum May Result

What are you choosing, but pretending that you aren’t choosing?

My coach asked me that this week and it was
so
so
so easy to see in my clients, but really pretty painful to look at in myself.

Client 1 chooses to drink Diet Coke, but it’s because she doesn’t like water and she’s giving up sweets. Well, she still eats sweets but she knows she shouldn’t.

Client 2 chooses to stop working on her dissertation because she can’t work on it full time now that she has a job.

Client 3 chooses to eat donuts and muffins at work, but it’s because her coworker brought them in.

Client 4 chooses to stop writing her book, but it’s because her husband is home full time during the pandemic.

Client 5 chooses not to exercise after work, but that’s because his employer has been micro-managing him all day.

Client 6 chooses not to go to bed at the hour she wants, but it’s because her family likes to eat dinner late.

I will let you guess which Client I am.*

Unless we are in an extreme and unsafe situation, anything we do is because we choose to do it.
Anything we are not doing is because we are choosing not to do it.
The minute we call it a choice our brain pops up with some more or less irrelevant reason to distract from where we are completely at choice.

Cue all the extreme examples:
What if you are a 52 year old woman and want to be a first round draft choice in the NFL.

What if you want to levitate and read minds?

What if you are 61 and want to be able to do a press up handstand? **

OK brains, what would you notice is true for you, if you weren’t so busy trying to find an example that can’t work like breathing underwater.

This week –
Notice where you are choosing to do something but blaming it on something or someone else.

Notice where you are choosing not to do something, but blaming it on something or someone else.


*Definitely Client 4, but all of them resemble me at one time or another.

**That’s my dream and I’m working on it, which I choose to think is arguably cooler than already being able to do it.

What would you do, if you knew how to do it?

What would you do if you just knew how?

What comes up for you? Do you have an authentic desire – maybe one you’ve carried around for years (decades)?
If something comes up pretty fast, pay attention.

What would you do if you knew you would not fail? Have you heard that cliche?

I have a different question for you.

What COULD you do if you were willing to fail at it? Over and over and over.

My clients at some point every week or two say, “OK, Michele, but HOW?”

How is not the question. It’s not even what they mean?
They know how.
What they mean is how without feeling awkward, or being embarrassed, or getting up early, or taking TikTok off their phones, or trying on a bathing suit in front of a mirror.

What do you want and why do you want it? Confusion is always a lie and the “how” is where we always decide to get confused.

Not you. All of us.

What do you want?
Why do you want it?
What if you were not afraid to fail
over
and over
and over
until
you did it?

All the reasons you can’t do it yet? That’s just part of the process in going from:

“I WANT to write a book,” to “I CHOOSE to write a book.”

“I WANT to lose weight” to “I CHOOSE to lose weight.”

“I WANT to eat vegan” to “I CHOOSE to eat vegan.”

“I WANT to double my business” to “I CHOOSE to double my business.”

“I Want!” Toddlers say that all day long, don’t they? Sometimes it works, but mostly because someone makes it happen for them.

“I CHOOSE.” That is a powerful place to come from, but as long as you tell yourself you don’t know how or you’re confused about the next step you get to play it safe.

That’s ok, just as long as you know it’s a lie.

Coaching is the best way I know of getting in touch with those excuses we have been holding on to so long that they just feel like facts. To learn more about getting coached fill-in the contact form to request a consultation or look at some of the tremendous coaching podcasts I link to on the RESOURCES PAGE.

Think you’re different?

You’re right.

Think you’re the same? You’re right.

The power to manage your thoughts begins with noticing the way you’re already creating your experience. Life Coaching using the 5 Step Model is an easily learned practice to make enormous positive changes in your life very quickly.

You can do it on your own – but you don’t have to.