CHAPTER 5

Shift from Excuses to Declarations, because You Can’t Ride with the Kickstand Down

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The purpose of a kickstand on a motorcycle is very similar to the purpose of a kickstand on a bicycle. The function of the kickstand is to keep the bike upright and support it when it is not in use—when it’s not being ridden.

There is one epic difference between the kickstand of a bicycle and the kickstand of a motorcycle: on a motorcycle, you cannot even start the engine if the kickstand is down. The kickstand disengages the engine. It is almost like the safety on a gun. The safety on a gun is designed to make sure that you are 100% ready to fire your weapon, and it prevents misfires. So you can’t start the motorcycle with the kickstand down, and if you’ve started the motorcycle and you engage the kickstand, the entire motorcycle immediately shuts off. There’s a kill-switch mechanism inside that stalls the motorcycle dead in its tracks.

The kickstand on a motorcycle represents excuses. And you can’t ride the motorcycle of your life as long as you’re leaning on the crutch of your excuses! As long as you engage the kickstand (use your excuses), you’re telling the motorcycle that you’re not serious and you’re not ready to ride.

The only time you need the kickstand is when you’re parking the bike.

So follow the metaphor, please. If the purpose of the kickstand is to support the bike when the bike is not in use, then the only time an excuse should surface in your life is when you’re not ready to ride. Because you can’t possibly say that you’re ready for your next level yet keep putting the kickstand down. Once you straddle a motorcycle, your legs do the work of the kickstand.

Do you want to live the quality of life you’ve always dreamed? If you answered yes, then kick back the kickstand. You don’t need it to enjoy the ride. In fact, you can’t use it to enjoy the ride.

Why People Lean on Their Excuses (Secondary Gain)

I’ve said that the purpose of the kickstand is to keep the bike comfortable and supported when not in use. Let me put that a little differently.

The purpose of your excuses is to keep you comfortable and supported with your decision to play small and not use your life to the fullest. Ouch! That one even hurt me, and I’m the author! LOL. But it’s so true. Be super-duper careful with excuses, because they are very subtle, and they are meant to make you feel OK with mediocrity, average, and pulling back—not advancing forward with your life, career, business, relationships, health, money, family, or overall well-being.

Have you ever heard of the psychological term secondary gain? Secondary gain is defined as any advantage, such as increased attention, disability benefits, or release from unpleasant responsibilities, obtained as a result of having an illness.

Remember that the purpose of the kickstand is to keep the bike comfortably not in use or conveniently inactive, to help justify why you can’t win and succeed. Always remember this . . . the thief who’s trying to rob your house (metaphorically speaking) doesn’t want you to know that he’s there. What do I mean by this? Who is the thief? Fear. Fear doesn’t want you to recognize its actions as fear based, but all excuses and all kickstands are rooted in some form of fear!

We will double-click more on fear in the next chapter, but for now let me finish unpacking secondary gain. With secondary gain, there is some positive or favorable benefit for you in playing small. It’s that benefit that you love and become addicted to, that keeps you in an unfavorable position in life.

Let me give you an example of how this sucker works.

Let’s say you’re a busy, overworked, and underappreciated career professional, and you lead a busy family life. One day, unfortunately, you break your leg in a car accident. Ouch. I don’t wish that on anyone, but just follow me for a second.

Of course, you don’t like that you have a broken leg, because you can’t walk; you can’t do a lot of things that you’re used to doing. You need help for nearly all the activities of day-to-day living. You don’t like being helpless, and you want to get better quick, so you can get back to normal.

However, while you’re recovering, the following benefits show up in your life:

• You get time off work.

• You get to stay home and enjoy your family.

• Your spouse does more of the chores you used to do.

• Your kids are nicer to each other and you, and cater to you.

• You collect disability insurance payments.

• Your family, neighbors, and friends come visit you regularly.

• You get to catch up on all your favorite TV shows.

• Your team at work takes up all the slack while you’re gone.

Now, all these “secondary benefits” of your being “sick and incapacitated” begin to make you want to stay sick and incapacitated longer. These secondary gains make your “new norm” of being sick . . . very comfortable.

So the brain begins to delay your healing so that you can enjoy this disabled state and prolong it for as long as possible. That’s why some people get sick and stay sick. That’s why people sometimes become broke and stay broke. Because secondary gain is making their disadvantaged situation so “comfortable.”

Here’s the kicker: Do you really need a broken leg to get this love and attention from your family and team? Of course not. But that’s what you think. And that’s the issue. The truth is that you can get all the benefits— without the broken leg—simply by asking for what you want and need and being persistent until you get the affection, support, team spirit, relaxation, and cooperation that you deserve.

Remember, the goal of the kickstand is to make the motorcycle comfortable with not being used! Inactive! Kept upright.

We sometimes called this learned helplessness or a victim mentality. It’s all the same stuff. This is why it’s crucial that you not allow your excuses to hold you back from getting on your bike and enjoying the ride.

 

Kick back your kickstands! —Delatorro McNeal, II

Let’s talk about the exact excuses that we most often use. According to the LifeHack website, these are the top twenty excuses most people make that stop them from reaching their dreams.1

• I’m too old to start.

• I’m not talented enough.

• I wasn’t born in the right area.

• I come from a poor background.

• I’m not smart enough.

• I don’t have the support.

• I don’t have enough time to discover what I like.

• My family and friends don’t think I’m capable.

• I don’t know whether I will succeed.

• I’ve already dedicated myself to a different path.

• I’m just not lucky enough.

• I didn’t have the right teachers.

• I’m not destined to succeed.

• I’m not motivated enough.

• I’m too easily distracted by other things.

• I’m not educated enough.

• I can’t handle failure.

• I will start tomorrow.

• I’m not ready.

• I don’t believe I can do it.

Check this out:

• No trip

• No jewelry

• No designer bag

• No high-fashion outfit

• No piece of real estate

• No investment account

• No second home overseas

None of these things are more expensive than your excuses. According to the Inc. website, here are the top ten excuses that unproductive people make at work. See if any of these apply to you or the people you work with.2

1. I’m overworked.

2. It’s not my job.

3. I’ll finish that later.

4. I don’t have all of the answers yet.

5. I’ll wait for my boss to tell me what to do.

6. I don’t understand all the variables.

7. I don’t see the benefit to me.

8. I might not get the credit. (Wow . . . now that’s honest.)

9. I’m worried about the quality of my work.

10. I might fail.

 

If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse. —Jim Rohm

Ready to get rid of all of these whack kickstands?

There’s a powerful psychological practice called cognitive reframing. When you reframe something, you take what appears to be a negative and find a way to turn it around so that you see the positive in it, allowing it to become useful for you.

By clinical definition, “cognitive reframing is a psychological technique that consists of identifying and then changing the way situations, experiences, events, ideas, and/or emotions are viewed. Cognitive reframing is the process by which such situations or thoughts are challenged and then changed.”

For example, what if you stopped calling your issues in life and business “problems” (which has a negative connotation) and you started calling them “growth opportunities” (which has a positive connotation)? That one simple shift with your word choice makes a big difference and evokes a completely different response from you . . . doesn’t it? Try doing this for the next thirty days, and ask a few friends and family members to join you in this “Shift Challenge.” Email me at [email protected] and let me know how it went. I’m very interested to see how this one cognitive reframe can become a game changer for you.

In a Psychology Today article titled “Reframing” by Linda and Charlie Bloom, they say this about reframing:

Reframing requires seeing something in a new way, in a context that allows us to recognize and appreciate positive aspects of our situation. Reframing helps us to use whatever life hands us as opportunities to be taken advantage of, rather than problems to be avoided. Breakdowns are transformed into challenges and new possibilities to experience life more fully and to become a more whole human being.3

I love their expression of cognitive reframing. So powerful and so essential to this book. I practice this skill of reframing every single day of my life as an entrepreneur. I am perpetually reframing the never-ending growth opportunities that come along with fatherhood, entrepreneurship, professional development, money and finance, faith and spirituality, relationships, race and ethnicity, and health and vitality. I’m constantly looking for new ways to see things and new vantage points from which to look at things that allow me to be able to process them more positively and productively. I intentionally keep people in my life (in the form of amazing friends, mentors, coaches, and colleagues) whom I run scenarios by, knowing that their vantage point will help me cognitively reframe how I’m processing something, enabling me to digest what I’m experiencing (whether good or bad) in a better, healthier, and more productive, powerful, and edifying way. I call these reframed versions positive declarations.

So now that we know exactly what cognitive reframing is, let’s close this chapter by doing an exercise around it, working with the excuses I listed earlier.

For each excuse that was listed, I am going to help you reframe it as a positive declaration. Each of these declarations will help you get rid of your kickstands, enabling you to engage the engine of the motorcycle of your life and live life to the fullest. But you must believe them in your heart, confess them with your mouth, and take divinely inspired action toward them.

• Old excuse: I’m too old to start.
New declaration: My past experience allows me to start . . . smarter.

• Old excuse: I’m not talented enough.
New declaration: I am learning new skills daily.

• Old excuse: I wasn’t born in the right area.
New declaration: Geography doesn’t dictate destiny.

• Old excuse: I come from a poor background.
New declaration: As I succeed, I will bring others along and revitalize my old community.

• Old excuse: I’m not smart enough.
New declaration: I am a lifelong learner and implementer.

• Old excuse: I don’t have the support.
New declaration: The right team is finding me, and I am finding them.

• Old excuse: I don’t have enough time to discover what I like.
New declaration: I know what I want.

• Old excuse: My family and friends don’t think I’m capable.
New declaration: I know I can do this; others will see it later on.

• Old excuse: I don’t know whether I will succeed.
New declaration: I am destined to succeed at this, no matter what.

• Old excuse: I’ve already dedicated myself to a different path.
New declaration: I am multitalented and ambidextrous. I believe in multiple income streams.

Old excuse: I’m just not lucky enough.
New declaration: The right opportunities and doors open for me with grace and ease.

• Old excuse: I didn’t have the right teachers.
New declaration: Success leaves clues; and daily, I attract the right mentors to guide me.

• Old excuse: I’m not destined to succeed.
New declaration: My destiny is what I say it is. Today, I say it’s clear, bright, and in sight!

• Old excuse: I’m not motivated enough.
New declaration: No one who succeeds does so alone. We all need support, and so do I.

• Old excuse: I’m too easily distracted by other things.
New declaration: I work hard and I play harder. I focus now so I can have fun later.

• Old excuse: I’m not educated enough.
New declaration: Each day I develop my mind with all the knowledge that books, people, and the internet can teach me.

• Old excuse: I can’t handle failure.
New declaration: Failure is an event, never a person. And failure is only feedback.

• Old excuse: I will start tomorrow.
New declaration: Today is the tomorrow that I dreamed about yesterday. My time is now.

• Old excuse: I’m not ready.
New declaration: I am more than ready to take a small step toward my dreams every day.

• Old excuse: I don’t believe I can do it.
New declaration:I believe in others’ belief in me, until my own belief kicks in.

Do you see how powerful cognitive reframing is? Notice how there wasn’t a single excuse of the twenty listed that I couldn’t reframe, and the same is true with your kickstands. Each of them can and must be reframed into something powerful, purposeful, profitable, and productive for you.

If you speak excuses, you will shift into a lower gear.

If you speak declarations you will shift into a _______________!

What’s the name of this book? Exactly. So you know which one I recommend!

My last assignment in this chapter is a gift. Visit www.ShiftIntoAHigherGear.com; click on Free Book Bonuses, and you can download the PDF of all these declarations. There are even a few blank lines for adding your own positive declarations. I want you to print three copies of the declarations and post them in three places around your house: your mirror where you groom yourself, your refrigerator door, and the wall opposite your toilet. Then download the screensaver of the declarations and use it as the screensaver on your computer. That way, every time your mind comes up with an excuse (a kickstand), you can remove the kickstand by seeing and stating your declarations. Do this for thirty solid days with an accountability partner and watch what happens.

Five Ways You Can Shift Higher and Tune Up the Motorcycle of Your Life

1. You can’t ride with the kickstand down. The only purpose of the kickstand is to support a bike that’s not in use. Motorcycles, like life, are meant to be driven. If you make excuses, your life and dreams are not in use.

2. Secondary gain is what makes your excuses comfortable to you. Don’t allow that to happen. Recognize what your excuses are trying to do, so that you don’t play small and consistently under-perform for side benefits you can get in other more powerful and productive ways.

3. Create your own list of positive declarations and add them to mine. Recite them each day for thirty days straight with an accountability partner and celebrate as your life shifts as a direct result of this game-changing strategy.

4. Remember that your brain is your friend if you train it. Without proper training, your brain is always trying to make you comfortable with your decisions, whether growth based or comfort based.

5. There is nothing on earth more expensive than your excuses. Get rid of the kickstand so that you can enjoy the open road of life to the fullest while you get 1% better each and every day.

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