Your Best Is Yet To Come

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When Rationalizing Sound Good But Thwarts Progress

There’s point when taking more time to research, get organized, and continue praying about a matter is just an excuse.

When working with coaching clients, I’ve noticed they’re really into the process of nailing down their target and creating an action plan to achieve it.

As a matter of fact, their tendency is to be too ambitious, given their timeframe, resources, history, current situation, and the laws of physics. 

It’s as if they’re trying to compensate for not being where they feel they “should” be in the present.

Inevitably, when it’s time to execute their meticulous plan, a thousand and one rationalizations appear to explain away their lack of action.

  • Something happened at home that required all their time and attention
  • They felt it was important to first create a new filing system, or find the right online program to track everything, or they needed to organize their sock drawer to clear their head
  • Suddenly they’re not sure they received a clear leading from the Lord about the plan, so they need to spend more time praying about it first.

Don’t get me wrong,
I’m all for seeking the Lord’s direction,
but sometimes He’s waiting for us to
step into the Jordan in faith
before He holds up the waters upstream.

Annette Chesney

I’m all about challenging ourselves reach for something big and go further than we thought we could.

However, wisdom and sound leadership recognizes there’s a point when it’s too far out of the established comfort zone, and counterproductive.

When the stretch target triggers fear, uncertainty, and overwhelm instead of inspiring you to rise to the challenge, you’ve set yourself up for failure.

For each of us, there’s a “sweet spot” that exists in the realm beyond our comfort zone (the place where we feel safe, assured of success) and the zone that is a set up for failure.

We know when we’re outside the sweet spot because that’s when our creative excuses emerge.

Those plausible rationalizations show up in a self-sabotaging effort to avoid the discomfort of feeling overwhelmed, confused, uncertain of what to do, and fearful of what we assume is guaranteed failure.

We think our plausible excuses help us save face.

What they really do is erode our belief
that we’ve got what it takes.

Annette Chesney

The sweet spot is different for everyone and it takes a level of objectivity and self-awareness to accurately identify it.

Sometimes we fight it. We feel embarrassed because we “should” reach for more. So we set the target higher, only to be triggered again into paralyzing overwhelm that erodes our confidence even further. 

The net result – no progress, less confidence, more feelings of inadequacy and self-fulfilling expectations of a future failure.


Whether it concerns you or a team member you’re leading, identify and embrace your true sweet spot with no shame. 

Start there and set a path of small steps that create a series of small but continual wins.

When this is done repeatedly, you’ll find the “sweet spot” gradually enlarges to the point that bigger strides can be confidently and successfully executed.

What if you don’t have a choice about the target and timeframe?

What if someone else has established the game plan and your job is to carry it out?

Here’s some tips to help you or team members you lead:
  • Break down the plan into 90 day segments.
  • Break down those 90 day segments into weekly, then daily, or even hourly steps.
  • Act on the smallest step you can and look at only that, not the big picture. Then repeat.  Just keep taking the next right step.
  • Find a way to reward and affirm yourself at the completion of each step.
  • You may find it helpful to work with a non-judgmental mentor or professional coach who can walk you through this process and help you achieve breakthrough. By the way, I’ve seen the need for this no matter the level of previous success attained.

Our excuses aren’t evidence of
poor character or personal inadequacy. 

They’re symptoms of overwhelm, uncertainty,
and fear that none of us are exempt from. 

Annette Chesney

It’s wise to create a culture of graciousness toward ourselves and the team members we lead to remove the paralyzing fear of potential “failure”.

When that healthy culture is in place we can add the simple strategies above disarm our triggers allowing us to systematically and successfully execute our plan and create small wins in the right direction each week.

All it takes is a few successful weeks accumulating those small wins and you’ll no longer feel the need to shield yourself behind plausible excuses.


How do you know when you’re hiding behind excuses? What’s your tell-tale signs?

What strategy can you implement immediately so you can begin accumulating those small daily and weekly wins you need to regain your confidence and help you move forward on that important goal?

How can you graciously help your team members overcome the need to find rationalizations?

Let’s chat about this together in the Beautiful Life Virtual Cafe.

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