How To Stop Making Excuses & Make Your Next Big Move at Work

Is the fear of the unknown holding you back from going after what you want in your career? Do you find yourself continually making excuses and coming up with reasons why you shouldn’t chase down your big dreams in your professional life?

It’s a common problem, after all. And if this sounds like you, then rest assured that you are certainly not alone. 

Far too often, we allow our fear of the unknown, our fear of taking risks, to swoop in and create excuses as to why we shouldn’t do what we need to do to take that next big step toward achieving our dreams. And this is especially true in the workplace. 

We say to ourselves, What if I fail? And even the slightest mention of that word failure stops us dead in our tracks.

This week on Episode 147 of Productivity Paradox, I am sitting down with Jess Ekstrom, founder, and CEO of Headbands of Hope, an expert in optimism and the author of Chasing the Bright Side, to talk about the power of positivity. 

During our conversation, we dive into the importance of staying optimistic in trying times. We also discuss how to get beyond the most common stumbling blocks that we often run into when we consider being bold, which are the fear of failure and our tendency to make excuses that prevent us from moving forward on our goals when fear crops up. 

So today, let’s take a peek at some of the ways that we can stop making excuses that prevent us from moving forward on our professional goals . . . 

Because if there’s one thing that I know to be true when it comes to chasing down your dreams, it’s this: you’ve got to give yourself permission to just start, no matter what!

Ready to jump in?


3 Ways to Stop Making Excuses

Stop Comparing Yourself to Others–

The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence, right? At least, that’s what we like to think. 

When it comes to those that we admire, whether it’s someone who has earned the professional success that we yearn for or a public figure on social media who posts flawless pictures that exudes an effortlessness that feels impossible to replicate, it’s easy to lose sight of one important thing:

Success just doesn’t happen overnight. It takes a lot of hard work, focus, and dedication, no matter what type of success (personal or professional) that we’re talking about.

To rise above your tendency to make excuses for yourself that prevent you from moving forward on your own path to greatness, you must get yourself out of the habit of looking to the other side of the fence with envy.

In other words, stop comparing yourself to others! 

Stop looking to those who have met the success that you want for yourself as exceptions to the rule, and start thinking of the hard work that they put in on their own journey as a rule instead.

What are the steps that you need to take that will bring you to where you want to be in your career? Look to those as your guideposts, and start setting your own course. 

After all, it’s your life, and only you have the power to change it and to make it what you want.

Make Room for Positivity–

Jess and I touch on the power of positivity quite a bit on the episode this week, and it’s definitely worth mentioning here. 

Your words have weight; they matter! What you tell yourself can not only alter your entire day, but it can also affect the trajectory of your path to success for worse or for better . . . 

How can you flip the script of the story you’ve been rehearsing, the story that you tell yourself that convinces you that you’ll fail if you consider making a big move in your career?

Jess mentions she leads her life with the mindset that she would rather fail at what she’s aiming to do than to live with the regret of never trying at all. And I have to agree.

Rather than telling yourself a bunch of stories about what could go wrong if you make a bold move at work, try spinning a (positive) story about what could go right instead. 

The more you can turn your negativity on its head to look at the bright side of all of your what if’s, the easier it will be to take that next big step in your career.

Set Small, Attainable Goals–

We have talked about setting small, bite-sized goals that will act as springboards toward our bigger goals before, and there’s a reason for it: it works!

If you want to move beyond the fear of failure, then it’s crucial to look at where you want to end up in your career (i.e., your destination) and look at what the path that will lead you there might look like. 

What are some of the smaller milestones along the way of your path to success? They are perfect goals to start with because achieving them will bring you that boost of confidence that you need to keep moving forward.

How do you keep yourself from making excuses when it comes to chasing after your professional goals? Share your experiences and any tips you have in the comments below . . . 

And tune in to Episode 147 of the podcast this week to hear more of Jess Ekstrom’s story and what she has to say about the importance of staying optimistic, no matter what!

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Tonya Dalton
Tonya Dalton