Good ol’ “Yes, BUT” —  a pile of excuses and lots of fear cleverly disguised as logic and reason.  It’s embarrassing how many times I’ve used this to avoid doing even the little things that could have made a big difference in my life and in the lives of others. Because it meant taking a risk, putting myself out there without being sure how things would turn out. It was just plain easier to do nothing. I let the Big Fat Bully in My Brain convince me I wasn’t up to the challenge, that I wasn’t “enough.”

excuses, fears, reach your goalsDoes this sound familiar? You get a fabulous idea or maybe someone suggests a great work-around for a problem and “Yes, BUT” shoves right to the front of the line ready to shoot it down.

“Yes, that’s a great idea BUT it won’t work because __________.”

“Yes, I suppose I could try that BUT ______________.”

It’s time to kick “Yes, BUT” to the curb and dump those excuses. Get busy working on your goals instead letting your fears work on you. Because it’s up to you to make things happen!

These are Bahooda-kickin’ questions that help me get moving again when my “Yes, BUTS” threaten to take over. Next time the “Yes, BUTS” get in your way, give these questions a try to brainstorm every possible solution you can dream up. Even the most outrageous, goofy, wildly improbable ideas can open the door to an amazing and workable way forward.

1) What is the biggest obstacle I’m facing? It might be a work-related issue, finances, relationships, health, or something else. And you may have quite a list of obstacles but tackle one thing at a time. Rome wasn’t built in a day and nobody can blast through every roadblock all at once so don’t set yourself up for failure. One step at a time. . .What is the biggest, most important one for you right now?

2) What are the easiest ways to get around it? The easiest way gives you a place to start. So begin with easy! You can always change it up later if something else will work better. Take some kind of action to build momentum but don’t stop here. Go through the rest of the Bahooda-Kickers to find more solutions.

3) Who else has done something like this and can answer my questions? There’s always someone who has faced a similar situation. It never hurts to ask. Just be sure to say “thank you!” And if you don’t know someone personally, try good old University of Google or your nearest library. There’s a book, article, or YouTube video on just about anything you can name.

4) Who do I know that is willing to brainstorm possible solutions with me? This can be an amazing opportunity to find work-arounds or just talk out your ideas and concerns.

Cautionary note: Do this ONLY with trusted people who have a positive attitude, understand what you’re trying to accomplish, and will keep your “stuff” confidential.

5) If I tried a completely different approach by going outside my comfort zone what would that look like and how might it change my situation?  I know, I know. Comfort zones are well, comfortable, but they can be traps that keep us stuck. This comfort zone thing is still a struggle for me but I’m working hard to get past it.

staying safe, problem solving, comfort zone6) What’s more important – solving my problem or staying “safe?” It pays to dig deeper into this one if you’re serious about changing your circumstances or relationships.  Are you more interested in flying under the radar, keeping everyone feeling all comfy and cozy, and settling for what you have right now or are you willing to do what it takes to go after what you want, even if it’s hard, messy, and takes you into unfamiliar territory? 

7) How might the outcome shift if I devoted an extra hour or two a week to this project/situation/relationship? Please don’t tell me you can’t squeeze an hour out of your week! If it’s important enough, you’ll make the time. If it’s not, you’ll find an excuse.Which is it going to be?

8) Could asking for help change the outcome? How? This is NOT a sign of weakness although way too many of us think we have to do everything on our own. Maybe it’s time to rethink that approach.

9) Am I willing to accept help? OK, here’s another place where you may have to look deep inside. If you’re not willing to accept help, why not? Pride? Stubbornness? Distrust? Something else?

10) What kind of help do I need? Think this one through carefully, make a “top 3” list, then get busy finding the help you need — today!

11) What resources, information, people, books, etc. are available to help me get where I want to go? How do I get my hands on them?

12) What else have I missed? Give this one plenty of time to percolate. There are usually more options, ideas, and possibilities out there but often we get so anxious to fix the problem RIGHT NOW that we latch on to the first reasonable-sounding solution that we find. Is there a better way? Don’t skip this important Bahooda-Kickin’ question.

13) What do I need to let go of? Seems like this is one of the toughest ones to answer. Why? Because most of us get so invested in a relationship, plan, or project that we hang on and on despite all the warning signs that it’s time to let go. There are times when that’s the smartest, sanest move you can make.

Letting go of a piece of the plan/project if it just isn’t working frees you up to focus on the most important part. Maybe it’s the whole plan that needs to be scraped to make way for a better one. (Yeah, I know. OUCH!) Sometimes it’s a toxic relationship that needs to be released. If you have a negative, toxic person in your life is it time to let go and move on?

We all deal with our share of fears, doubts, and “Yes, BUTS.” They’re confidence killers. If you’d like some great quotes to boost your confidence, get them here.

Bonnie Pond is an inspiring speaker and founder of the international Make Your Life Count Movement. She’s the author of The Power of Three: How to be Happy and Get What You Want in Life (Without Doing Anything Illegal, Immoral, or Unethical) and Unlock Your Creativity: 30 Days to a More Creative YOU!, host of a weekly radio show, and self-described “Bahooda Kicker” who helps women stop settling for less than they really want in life. Her mission is to motivate women around the world to live their purpose, love their lives, and make them count!

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