6 excuses you tell yourself to stop doing anything (and how to fix them)

Several times a week, I receive an email from someone asking me “how do I get so much done?”

At one point or another, I have had the exact same 6 excuses you tell yourself, to stop me doing anything. I’m going to tell you how to get over those 6 excuses that are preventing you from doing and achieving incredible things.

In 2017 I released 2 courses, wrote 2 books and published 1 of them. Wrote close to 100 pieces of content, presented over 12 webinars, started a coaching program, built a new piece of software, signed my largest ever marketing funnel contract and still found time to learn solo skydiving, Maui Thai and spend time with friends and family.

I say this not to brag, but to show you that all of the reasons you tell yourself something isn’t possible, are simply excuses designed for survival. I understand why we have excuses, I still have them myself in my head. They are designed purely for self-preservation as any kind of change is also considered a threat.

But as soon as I accepted I was in control of my excuses, the world opened up to me infinite possibilities of time, money and recognition.

If any of these below sound familiar, they are excuses you tell yourself that prevent you from doing amazing things.

I’m not a…

I’m not a designer, I’m not a developer, I’m not a marketer, I’m not a salesperson, I’m not a swimmer, athlete, video expert or supermodel. There are going to be hundreds of things that you are not. So when you’re thinking of starting a new business, starting a new product, starting to blog more or write a book, or create a course. Whatever it is that you want to start doing, I bet that you start to think “I’m not a [fill in the blank]”, so therefore you can’t possibly start your new venture because you aren’t already that thing.

I want you to think about the logic of that statement. Do you think that Michael Phelps was born a swimmer? Do you think that Bill Gates was born the richest man in the world or that you were even born with the ability to drive?

We often mistake people giving themselves a label as a designer or developer or marketer, with the understanding that they have talent in this area. You might be naturally talented at one or two things, but it is well known that talent will only get you so far.

Whenever you start any new hobby, venture, habit or technique you are always going to start off as a beginner. Commitment to the idea and persistence through the hard times is what makes anyone, anything.

I don’t have the experience

Another excuse we tell ourselves is that we don’t have the experience to do “the thing”.

“I don’t have the experience to start my own business.”

“I don’t have the experience to start writing a blog.”

Experience is relatively similar to talent. Experience can absolutely make short work of tasks which would take beginners a longer time. But ultimately the end result can be indistinguishable.

To say that you don’t want to start blogging, start a business or try new products because you don’t have experience. It is a bit like saying you don’t want to learn to drive because you’ve never driven before.

We have to bite the bullet and push our fear of lack of experience to the back of our mind. The only way you are going to gain experience is by starting and committing.

Interestingly, I now consider myself fairly experienced with marketing funnels and blogging. And yet, I still find I make mistakes, some tasks are difficult and I’m always learning.

Good decisions come from experience and experience comes from bad decisions. There is always a learning curve to everything. If you look at people who are successful with any pursuit it’s nothing to do with their level of experience it’s to do with their level of persistence.

My ideas aren’t original

I got news for you. No one’s ideas are original. Hell, this list was taken from a Jeff Bullas E-book which I read through a few days ago.

While I agree that whatever you do, you must inject your own personality into it. When starting anything, none of your ideas will be original. I often find that when people are about to start something for the first time (blogging, YouTube content, marketing funnels, businesses etc.) and they believe they have a completely original or unique idea. 1 of 2 things will happen.

1. While the idea may be original, they are so scared to share it with the world that they hold onto it and never bring it to life or market. 2. After starting with their idea they quickly lose interest, lose commitment or discover that someone else has already done it (which is another excuse to quit).

When you first start none of your ideas will be original. However the longer you do something, the more experience you pick up and the more you commit and persist. The more original ideas you will have. Commit to the actions of following what hundreds or even millions of people have done before you, and learn from their mistakes and successes. In whatever area you are starting.

Then, over time, you will begin to develop your own original ideas. Backed up with your years of persistence and commitment, your original ideas will have a stronger foundation.

No one knows me

Have you heard of Ryan Deiss? How about Tony Robbins? Of course to people reading this blog, those two names are probably fairly well known.

In fact, you could even say that they are celebrities. With millions of people knowing exactly who they are. I’m going to let you in on a secret.

Ryan Deiss, Tony Robbins, Michael Gerber, Gary Vaynerchuk. These guys are practically hermits compared to the total global reach potential.

Facebook estimates that between 10 and 15 million people on Facebook, follow or have some kind of activity or knowledge Tony Robbins. Even compared to Facebook’s total reach and audience (over 1 billion people), is a staggering 1.5% of the entire reach of Facebook.

Imagine that. THE Tony Robbins has a following on Facebook of only 1.5% of the total audience of Facebook.

This is of course a rough estimation and not indicative of the entire global population. But it gives you an idea that frankly NO ONE is known. And you can take great solace in that fact. The fact that no one knows you means you can experiment in the first few years.

Very quickly you’ll find even a small group of 15 to 20 people who follow you and give you feedback is an incredible feeling. Yes, it takes a long time to reach hundreds of thousands or millions of people. But it’s not impossible and is not going to start until you start.

I’ve got more important things to do

This excuse is half a question of time and half a question of priorities. One of the questions I’m asked a lot is how do I write so much?

Stephen King said if you want to write a lot you need to read a lot. So if I want to write a lot of content I need two things. First, I need to read as much content as I create. At the moment I’m powering through on average one book a week.

In order to write my ideas out I need to give myself time and structure to be able to create content. That there is the entirety of my secret content marketing strategy. Dedicate my time to publishing at least one piece of content per week (it’s often closer to 5 pieces of content per week, but if I’m writing a book, creating a course or another longer term piece of content I have to limit it to 1 a week), and dedicate myself to reading.

“I don’t have time to do that” or “I’ve got more important things to do” are the first 2 excuses that I hear, despite telling people exactly how I do what I do. If you feel you don’t have the time or if you feel there are other things to do. Ask yourself “do I really want to do this?”

I understand we all have obligations. But many of those obligations are short-term firefighting. I believe that my creating and reading content, has a compounding interest effect.

Everything from starting a business, going to the gym, starting a new hobby or bettering yourself with learning and reading, can all be prioritised if you truly want it.

It’ll never be how I like it

Ah, the perfectionist’s nightmare.

Publishing something at 60% is better than holding onto something which is 99% complete. I understand that people want to put their best work out there, however this often becomes a self-serving excuse.

I’m going to tell you now that whatever you publish, even if that at the time you think it’s perfect, in six months time you’ll think it sucks. Frankly if you aren’t updating and adding to your content, business, products or offerings every six months then something is wrong. You’re going to hate what you put out no matter how proud of it you are at the time eventually.

To say that something isn’t perfect as an excuse for not publishing it is to misunderstand the purpose of publishing.

When you have a team of 100 people working on your manuscripts, editing your content, editing your videos, filming you, creating soundbites and social media content. Then, I can totally understand having a set of practices. But those practices should be designed to get stuff out there and published. Not perfect.

Perfect never exists. This is the easiest excuse to make and I believe it doesn’t truly exist. I believe people make the perfection excuse because they have another reason why they don’t want to share something.

Typically I believe that the previous five excuses are the true fears and causes of lack of execution. It’s almost as if the perfection excuse is an excuse for the excuses.

When you start it’s never going to look how you wanted to. Over time you will publish things with greater content quality than you first imagined as easy as breathing.

Think of the Michelin starred and 2 and 3 Michelin starred restaurants. They push out literally perfect dining experiences, meals and food every single day. They make it look effortless. But there is often decades of work, experience, mistakes and imperfection that precedes it. Even then, many Michelin starred chefs will look at their work and food and always think to themselves “it could be better.”

Hell, I published a book From To Single Scale, Which after going through it 1/3 and fourth time is still riddled with typos and grammatical errors. But it doesn’t change the fact that I have finally published my first book and I’m currently working on a second and third.

How many of these excuses did you recognise? What is it that is preventing you from pushing forward on your next activity, venture or habit. Let me know in the comments below if there is an excuse you have which I can help with.

Mike Killen

Mike is the world's #1 sales coach for marketing funnel builders. He helps funnel builders sell marketing funnels to their customers. He is the author of From Single To Scale; How single-person, small and micro-businesses can scale their business to profit. You can find him on Twitter @mike_killen.