As a Life Coach, I work with a lot of men and women who have a strong vision/dream for what they want out of life. They have potential. They have a growing passion. Some know what steps they must take to make it happen. But, probably 85% of those I work with eventually bring in an alibi for not being able to move any further or just plain deciding to give up on their dreams.
In the book, Think and Grow Rich! By Napoleon Hill first released in 1937, there is a list of 57 alibis people use for stopping forward movement toward success. The list is in the last chapter – How to Outwit the Six Ghosts of Fear. What amazed me as I re-read this book earlier this year was how many of my clients are using the same alibis to explain their lack of success! Hill claims there are six basic fears behind these alibis: Fear of poverty, criticism, ill health, loss of love of someone, old age, and death.
See if you have used any of these alibis from the 1930s during your journey toward achieving success. Chances are there is a fear associated with the IF alibis.
I would be successful…
If I didn’t have a wife (or husband) and family. I cannot tell you how many times I have heard this from women. Sometimes we do need to delay our progress because of family situations, but there are many men and women who use this as their excuse to stop. The fear? It might be loss of love of someone or poverty.
If I had enough “pull”. The fear behind this one…. probably criticism! We each must try and be persistent in meeting the right people to help us along the way.
If I had money. The fear – poverty. Hill interviewed some of the most famous and wealthy people back in the day. One thing they all had in common: they didn’t have financial backing when they first started out. The light bulb, automobiles and most of the modern conveniences we enjoy were started or invented by people with no money!
If I had a good education. I do believe education is important, but if you research the people I just mentioned above…you’d find that most of them were NOT highly educated. The fear? Criticism.
If I could get a job. Determination, persistence and tenacity will help anyone get a job. Whether it’s to pay the bills, put gas in the car so you can pursue your dream, you could get a job. Will it be your dream job? Probably not, The fear: criticism and poverty.
If I had good health. I have worked with people who completely stop all activity toward success when they find themselves struggling with health. Sometimes it might delay some things, but it should never stop someone from doing what they can to move ahead. If one is passionate about where they are going and what they are purposed to do, ill health is not going to stop them. There are examples all through history of presidents, executives, pastors, and business owners that have continued their work while struggling with health. The fear: ill health and death.
If I only had time. This is the biggie for a lot of my clients who stop moving forward. Lack of prioritizing, time management and desire get in the way. The fear? It’s a toss-up between them all.
If times were better. Times are crazy today, but back in the 30s there was this terrible era known as The Great Depression! There were many self-made millionaire, inventions and successful businesses during that time, so why not in the era of today? The fear: Criticism, poverty, maybe death (with the terrorism rampant today).
If other people understood me. Guess what? There are a ton of people out there who will never understand what you are trying to do and criticize you for trying. It is not your job to convince those people that what you are working toward makes sense. You’ll only waste time trying to convince them of something they just aren’t going to understand. Coming from an entrepreneurial family, I grew up with others criticizing my parents’ desires to own and grow their own business!
If conditions around me were only better. Well, making things better is typically in your control. Finding work-arounds is something we all should be good at doing. But hiding behind this one is silly. My guess, the fear behind this: poverty, criticism, loss of love of someone.
Examine your self-talk and see if there are any alibis that you need to let go. As Henry Ford said: "Whether you think you can or cannot, you're right!"
In another blog, I’ll share the 10 alibis I hear and coach men and women to overcome.