Tuesday, November 19, 2013

What's Your Excuse? A taped together laptop, 4 kids and an unmarried dog from another marriage.

What's your excuse?

Does that question sound rude to you? Inflammatory? Judgmental?

Did you ever stop for a moment to consider your reaction to that question is coming from within you, and that only you can change?

For weeks now, I've watched people publish Maria Kang's exercise photo so that they could attack her, shame her, criticize her, and overall completely miss her point.

Yup, miss her point. Completely.

I've seen people wrongly think she wants everyone to look just like her. I've seen people wrongly claim she wants mothers to abandon motherhood, to neglect their children, to undergo elective surgery, to starve themselves and more.

All of it is a dire attempt to miss her point completely.

What's your excuse anyways?

We all have excuses. I'm not talking about priorities. For myself as well as many of you out there, fitness is not a priority on our list. We don't have that desire in our hearts, so we aren't working on it.

But Maria's photo still applies to us.

It's not about trying to look exactly like a 5 foot tall, slightly Asian, very skinny woman. She's not telling you to have 3 children. She's not demanding that you wear tiny athletic outfits.

She is, however, making a really good point, one that mothers in our culture work very hard to ignore. And it's time to stop ignoring it. Now is the time, right now, today, to stop making excuses.

We all have something inside of us. It could be something beautiful, or meaningful, or maybe useful. It could be profound or exciting. It could be tiny and precious or huge and important. Whatever it is, it's in each one of us.

And yet, we obscure it. We run from it. We bury it deep down under hundreds of little excuses. Let's get honest here: We are scared of failure, sure. And maybe the effort, the climb, the commitment. But really, we are scared of ourselves.

What's your excuse?

No matter what life puts in our way or how many obstacles fall in front of us or how others treat us or the cards fate plays for us...it comes down only to us. We box ourselves in and we decide on our restrictions. No one else can do that for us and more importantly: no one else can remove them for us.

Do you ever hear that whisper in your heart? How you long to be.... an artist, maybe?

"No one will like your paintings."
"You can't afford to go back to school."
"Artists don't make money and you're already poor."
"What would the in laws think?"
"You could never build your own studio."
"You husband will just laugh."
"Just because you like it, doesn't mean you're good at it."

What's your excuse to stay in your box? 

Late at night, when you're thinking about that thing, the thing you stopped doing or gave up sacrificially or lost sight of in the shuffle of life, what excuses quickly overpower your thoughts?

"I'm a mom now, I'd never have time for that."
"And jog when? I don't even get enough sleep to wake up early!"
"We can't pay our bills as it is, how could I ever sign up for that class?"
"Boy, I'd love to join that volunteer group, just as soon as I find time to take a shower!"

Guess what. Everyone has excuses. Everyone is slightly nervous, slightly unhappy and hugely restricting themselves at some time in life. But you only get one life. One time. The days pass by whether you are doing it or hiding from it. And you can't buy back time. You either get out from under those excuses and do what you have always wanted to do, or you can make excuses as the days pass by, then look back and wish you had done it.

Whatever dream is inside you, what's your excuse?

That excuse can be overcome or sidestepped or dealt with in some way. With creativity and patience, you can do it. And those who have faced their excuses know this. That's why they turn back, like Maria Kang, and ask: What's your excuse?

"I'm just a mom." Well, so are thousands.
"I'm poor." Well, so are most people. They say 99% for a reason.
"I don't have time." None of us do.
"I'm scared." We all are scared.
"People might laugh at me." They probably will, and they might attack, shame, and criticize you.
"I might fail." You most certainly will, likely several times. That's part of life.
"I could never do that." You can't if you never do it.

What's their excuse?

"I don't have legs."

"I don't have arms."

Harold Alvarez, a Haitian artist and Rotarian who has no arms,
paints by holding the brush in his mouth. 
"I've been diagnosed or labeled."

Stephen draws like a camera
"I don't have a degree."

CEOs without a degree
"No one will like my idea."

Crazy business ideas that worked
Look. The point is, if you want to do something, try something, taste something, experience something, make something or live someway, then it's up to you to do it. What's your excuse? I guarantee you it's nothing new. I promise you many others have faced it, or worse. And if you look around, you'll find some people throw off those excuses. Because this is life and you only play one time. Go big.

What's my excuse?

I want to write a book. It's been on my mind for a long time now. But when I chat about book writing, I say self-deprecating things with a little giggle. "Oh, congrats to you! Maybe someday when the kids are in college I can write mine, too. *laff*

"I'm a busy mom." And what mom isn't?
"I don't have a nanny." So I'll work around the kids.
"I don't know where to begin." It's time to start somewhere.
"My computer is taped together and must be plugged in all the time." It still works.

"People might steal my research if I put it in book format." They'll steal it anyways.
"I don't have money for publishing and marketing." Then go cheap and just write.

It's time for me to stop making excuses. This idea is within me. It's important to me. I want to do it. So what if I have perceived limitations. So what if I have some obstacles. Other people do, too, and it's not stopping them. At the end of the day, I only have myself staring back at me in the mirror.

I'm writing a book.
What's your excuse?
Update: PLEASE READ THIS LINK! This article touches on something vitally important to the perspective in my article. You don't have to be a daughter and it doesn't have to be about your mother...this is a cultural phenomenon. http://womboflight.com/2014/01/18/why-its-crucial-for-women-to-heal-the-mother-wound/


  1. I can't decide which book to start! That's my excuse.

  2. great post! I need more hours in the day & I'll be able to get more done in life.. lol

    oh and maybe another set of arms..

  3. Totally agree! Thanks for writing this! I absolutely hate seeing people tear down others for accomplishing their goals. I think it is so great if everyone would just motivate each other to work harder and be better. Otherwise what is the point of social networking and all of us being connected together. I wish you all the best with your book and hope that I can accomplish a few of my goals as well :)

  4. AMAZING! It is so incredibly wonderful that you have chosen to not be critical and judgmental as so many others have.

    As a mom who is strict on what my children consume and encourage them to play outside and use their minds vs. sitting on their butts, eating convenience food and play video games...I get judged on my methods quite frequently.

    I hear "just let them be kids" and "oh, McDonalds won't hurt them, let them worry about their weight later on". Really? I want to set an example.

    Health and fitness means everything to our family and we are much closer because of it! Less stress because my kids are more well behaved and less crazy without sugar and artificial junk that has been known to cause hyperactivity. We enjoy going on walks and hikes. In fact, my son (almost 5) wanted to run his first race with me on Thanksgiving! He want's to run faster than Usain Bolt, and rather than instantly force him to believe that "no way, you will never have legs long enough to complete those strides", I tell him "if you want it, and you work hard enough, you can do it".

    What is to point of instantly believing that something is impossible without giving it your best?

    Maria Kang is actually an INSPIRATION to me. I follow her blog, Facebook page, and I am in her "No Excuses" Mom Facebook group that is a community that supports moms in their health and fitness efforts.

    Whether or not moms feel like they should or should not be in shape is their choice...but it isn't right to criticize those who chose to focus on being fit an healthy.

  5. Such an awesome article! Thank you so much for sharing this insight!

  6. Love this! I, like you, felt like folks were overlooking the most important thing about the shiny, beautiful fitness chick with her equally shiny and beautiful kids ... I think she was saying that moms undervalue their right to do something for themselves and they use excuses (let's face it, they come easy in motherhood!) to disguise the sad fact that they aren't yet strong enough to look at their needs and wants as important and deserving of their overly-sapped time.

    I am going to take this as a challenge to look beyond my own excuses and start taking action for myself. Thanks for the kickstart!

  7. Write that book, mama! You've got the skills and the desire, so you can make it happen! I'm available for any questions that you have that I may be able to answer. Just email any time, okay? Good luck! :)

  8. Great article! This one should be printed and taped to every mother's fridge!

  9. I really, really needed to read this today. Thank you Guggie!

  10. Well said Guggie! Glad I'm not the only one that saw her post for what it was. Why does everyone have to expect that there is mal-intent with every question? The guilt complex is suffocating. We all have excuses, it's about rising above those and choosing to do what we need to do to get where we claim we want to be. Whatever floats our boat: fitness (Maria), writing a book (you), having our own cooking show (me!)... or (insert any of a billion other options here!)

    Thanks for putting it so eloquently Guggie!

    <3 Dinnae

  11. Good luck on your book. I am also writing one with a 8, 5, 4, 2, and 5 month old.
    Keep it up! You are doing a great job.

  12. Awesome Guggie.... Came at the right time for me - very inspiring, true and motivating...
    Will pursue my dreams... Thanks and all the best for your book. Bhanumathy