We are the change

How to break free from your excuses

Every once in a while I am shocked out of being complacent and forced to really think about life in a different way. This week was one of those times. I was trawling the net for information on Dragon Naturally Speaking to see if it could help me get my ideas down faster and came across this page on Problogger where Jon Morrow, the assistant editor of Copyblogger (my favourite site on writing for the web) had created a video where he demonstrated how to use it.

When I watched the video I was stunned to discover that Jon is a quadriplegic. I’m not sure how I had managed to avoid this fact in the past, but this piece of information hadn’t crossed my path before. So I googled Jon (as you do) to see what had caused his situation and found one of the most moving posts I have ever read. The power of a mother’s love and both his and her absolute commitment that he should live and thrive are incredibly inspirational. But the post is not just about Jon’s story, its key message is about fighting for your ideas.

So, my post today is about commitment to succeed. In Jon’s case, his mother not only was committed to saving his life with every ounce of her being, but she was also committed to ensuring that his life was a full one, where his disability did not get in the way of his enjoyment and experience of life. For her, failure was not an option.

What is holding you back ?

One of the things that is interesting about Jon’s story, is that not only did he have to struggle with his disability, but he also had to put up with people’s lack of expectation of him.  This is something that many women have to put up with (though clearly not for the same reason).

Growing up, I always had to fight to get people to listen to me.

The worst part about being disabled isn’t the pain or the struggle but how the world tries to shove you into a corner and pretend that you don’t exist. After all, what could you possibly have to contribute? You’re going to die soon, poor thing. Here’s a nice, quiet room and some morphine to ease the pain.

They don’t proactively hold you back, no, but they don’t expect you to succeed either. I’ve spent my entire life fighting against the weight of those expectations.

He didn’t let this lack of expectation stop him.  In fact, it actually spurred him on to do more.

It can be too easy for us to give up on our dreams and find reasons in our lives for not reaching our full potential. The fight to feels too hard.

What are your excuses?

I’m not immune to this.  My excuses in the past, have centered around the challenge of being a great mother (or at least try to be!) and being a successful entrepreneur.   They are centered around finding a way to do all the things that need to be done to grow my business when I also need to be at home in the afternoons and evenings with my children.  What I have realised now, is that it’s all about deciding and about choice.  Life doesn’t have to be an all or nothing situation.  I’m now looking for a more flexible childcare solution that will fit my budget and my life so that I can be both a great mother and a successful entrepreneur.

Sometimes our excuses are more tangible, such as not having the money or not having a website.  And we can justify why we’re not reaching our goals because these things are not in place.  But the reality is that there is always a solution…  It’s just about deciding.

It’s just about deciding

If you find yourself caught in the excuses trap, write down a list of all the things that are holding you back.  Be honest with yourself about the excuses (this can hurt a bit) and justifications that you have in your life for NOT reaching your goals.  Take a good look at those excuses and decide that they are not going to have power over you any longer.  Embrace them,  acknowledge them and move on from them.  Decide that you are going to find a solution for each one.  I’m not belittling your challenges, but only you can find your way free of your excuses and you just need to decide that you are going to find a way free of them.

Take each excuse and brainstorm 5 solutions to each problem.  5 things that you can do to work around the problem.

Commit to doing whatever it takes to fulfil your vision and goals.


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  1. Jo says

    Great post, Julie and thanks for the link to Jon Morrow’s inspirational story. This reminds me of something I read online recently about women and success – often the expectations on us in the field of business aren’t as high as for men (as you point out above). As a result, if we achieve something above average, we’re praised and we think ‘oh, I’ve done well. I don’t need to do anymore’ so we never push ourselves beyond those boundaries. The burden of low expectation keeps down even when we’ve succeeded! Then it becomes an excuse not to do any more. We need to keep the momentum to continue that success and grow and not become burdened by others’ expectations of what our success should be.

  2. Erin Remien says

    Nice article Julie–very inspiring for those of us with disabilities (myself included). I tweeted it to my followers… Thanks!

  3. Julie Hall - Editor says

    I agree Jo, and I think to some extent I have been guilty of this myself. That’s why I found Jon’s story so moving and inspirational, because it would have been so easy for him to stop at any point and no-one would have batted an eyelid, but he didn’t allow that to happen.

  4. Julie Hall - Editor says

    Thanks Erin! I’m glad you liked it 🙂

  5. iDella says

    This is not only a moving and informative post, its extremely well-written. For different reasons, understand Jon’s problem w/lack of expectation….its just as bad as being told outright you CANT. Like him, I saw there always comes a time when you break away from what you think you KNOW to learn the truth.Thank you for sharing your tips as well!

  6. Daria Taylor says

    This is a great post, very well written. Many of us fall into the trap of excuses, especially when it comes to making very risky decisions or something that we feel uncomfortable with. Jon’s story is very moving, thank you for sharing this with us. Truly inspiring.