Isms in my opinion are not good. A person should not believe in an ism. He should believe in himself.
—Ferris Beuller, Ferris Bueller's Day Off
What's Your Excuse?
Even though we make every effort to get to our goals, we sometimes find that they still seem to be just out of reach and we can't explain why. We've done our work. We've listed our characteristics and qualities. We've drawn our imaginings out. We've shifted our focus to more positive, hopeful thoughts. We've written our new and better story, but we still seem to be stuck in the muck. So what could be going on?
One barrier to fully stepping into your new story and allowing all of your creative work to get results for you is that you may have an underlying excuse holding you back. Excuses (typically driven by hidden fears) are plentiful, and we often use them to justify and perpetuate our current situation of lack and limitation. This applies to all situations, not just money. Many of us will even fight to keep our excuses in place, inadvertently sabotaging the deserving gift of living the life we were meant to live. But once you identify your excuses, your awareness will help you more powerfully step into your story, relax your fears and still move forward.
A Lesson from the Ultimate Excuse-Maker
In Ferris Beuller's Day Off (one of the best movies to come out of the 80s), excuses are the bedrock of the storyline. Ferris and his friends create an elaborate series of excuses in order to have the best day ever skipping school. Sure, the plot line is about their resistance to graduating, the inevitable evolution into adulthood and fear of growing apart, but the spirit with which they wove their excuses and stories not only fooled everyone but took us on a raucous ride of entertainment and thought-provoking dialogue, including this opening monologue from Matthew Broderick:
Excuse Neutralizer Play
In this Play you will do a visualization where you project yourself into the future state of having financial abundance. After your visualization, you'll list any speed bumps (aka negative emotions, concerns, doubts etc.) that arose during your visualization. Take each speed bump and explore by answering "what if..." questions that help you mine the fear buried within. After that, you'll take each and write a positive statement that results in a more positive emotion (more toward your Magnetic North) and relaxes your fears.
- VISUALIZATION: Imagine yourself living wonderful financial abundance. What are you doing? How do you feel? What is now possible that you are in this place with money flowing into your life? How are you acting differently about your daily activities now that lack of money is no longer a concern? How has your social life changed? What does your family think of this? What are you doing now that you weren't doing before? Explore many different aspects until you hit your speed bumps.
- SPEED BUMPS: List the concerns, worries, doubts, fears, negative emotions that arose during your visualization. Examples: doubt/disbelief you will ever achieve true financial abundance, worry what others will think about how you display your financial abundance, that it will diminish your values, that you'll become too materialistic, that it's too good to be true, etc.
- EXPLORATION: Take each speed bump and add it to the end of this sentence: "What if..." and then answer the question, such as, Question: "What will people say about my newfound wealth?" Answer: "I'm afraid that people will label me greedy or in a negative way based on the money they see that I have, or they may think I'm doing something illegal because of how I suddenly became affluent." (Note that you should arrive at some base fear or story you believe to be true about the what if statement. This is why you are making an excuse not to live the financial abundance you say you really want.)
- RELAX YOUR FEARS: Look at your fears/stories and excuses. Write a new story (use the Appreciative Inquiry approach) about how it could unfold for you, easing and owning the fear and neutralizing its ability to stop you from manifesting your financial abundance. For example: "I am so excited to learn that my thought patterns and beliefs are the only thing keeping me from experiencing incredible financial abundance in my life. I know realize that I have total control over the results I get and can change my experience and attitudes around money. I don't have to be afraid of being judged by others about my financial status because I can demonstrate generosity and kindness with my newfound financial abundance. I can show them how it's improved my life and how happy I am as a result of allowing more money into my life. I believe that if I live as an example that anyone can achieve financial abundance by shifting their thoughts and beliefs and just focusing on feeling better, that they will in turn be inspired to do that themselves. And that's the best act of generosity—to inspire others to realize their own creative power so they can create wealth for themselves. I want everyone to be able to reinvent their story about abundance in all things—money, relationships, career success, health—and realize that they are the source of it all and that there is an endless supply to go around." Bonus: Draw out the scenes of your financial abundance after you've completed writing the new story, such as pictures of you inspiring others to shift their thinking and beliefs and showing them how to do Compass Playbook Plays to improve their emotional set point around money.