On the weekend I was watching a live Facebook broadcast by Kate Maree O’Brien and she asked the question, ‘What could you achieve if you had a gun pointed to your head?’ She suggested that in that situation, all the stories you tell yourself about why you can’t do something simply disappear. Your excuses disappear because you no longer have an option not to do the thing you really want to do. It’s life or death, so you just do it.

I loved, loved, loved this perspective and was blown away by the simplicity of her concept.

The truth is, like so many people I know, I am guilty of telling myself stories about why I can’t do something I really want to do. And it’s amazing how incredibly imaginative those stories can be. Every type of negative self-talk can jostle for position alongside creative excuses about not having enough time, money, support and so on. It can be a goddamn plethora of road-blocking, motivation-sapping storytelling designed to prevent progress towards what I truly desire.

Why do I do this?

Well, based on some recent and somewhat painful personal revelations, I’d say it has a lot to do with my patterns. That is the patterns of behaviour I’ve been repeating in my life and the consistent and kind of crappy results I’ve reaped in some areas because of them.

You see, when you tell yourself a story about why you can’t do something or why it won’t work out, you instantly make it more difficult for you to achieve or realise that thing. The minute you put those negative and defeating thought bubbles out there you set in train a course of events designed to make sure you don’t get where you want to go. You create your story. Then when it doesn’t work out you tell yourself, ‘Well that’s what always happens anyway’.

Self-fulfilling prophecy.

You start off from a point of weakness and just keep on going. And to be honest you probably don’t give it your all from the start or maintain your tenacity because deep down you expect it to fail because ‘that’s what always happens anyway.’ Of course, add to this mix that you are probably making the same decisions you always make in similar situations (i.e. repeating your patterns) and you can see you’re shooting yourself in the foot more than once or twice. In fact, the bullets are probably flying around so much you’re dancing the quickstep!

So how do we fix this tendency to shoot ourselves down before we begin?

Well, in my case I’ve been doing a lot of work around identifying and changing my patterns so I can create a different result to the one I’m used to. I’ll post some more information soon and let you know about one practitioner, Louise Kennedy, who’s really helped me with this side of my life.

I think the other key is definitely Kate’s approach. It may seem extreme but, if you didn’t have a choice, you wouldn’t make excuses and you would just go for what you want. Imagine the freedom in that! Imagine what you could create in your life! Imagine the magic!

So thank you Kate for kicking me up the proverbial backside this week and reminding me that I am the only one standing in my way. I can go for what I want or I can let my stories/excuses get in the way. I have a choice and perhaps an imaginary gun is one of the best motivators to help me forge ahead.