"Am I Ready?" 

I asked myself that question one morning as I stared in the mirror, getting ready to launch my first mastermind for a few brave, busy professionals. I was a nervous wreck! The jagged scar on my chin, etched forever by a silly stunt at age 12, wrinkled up further as I frowned at myself. "Is my program really ready to be seen and experienced yet? Maybe I should just postpone it. Or cancel it altogether! What if they hate it? What if they don't get it? What if..." 

At the soul level, I knew it was time to take a stand for what mattered most in my life. I knew it was time to up-level what I felt most passionate about: Helping professionals age 40 and up, from all walks of life and profession, birth their unique genius, serve the world from that place, and create lives they envision. But I still entertained the idea of calling the whole thing off because it wasn't 'perfect' in my eyes yet. Whatever 'perfect' meant!  

I also had a HUGE fear of being 'seen'.  For years, I was absolutely content analyzing and staffing projects for companies and coaching personal clients one-on-one.  With my new mastermind model, I knew I'd have to step out in a bigger way and have the spotlight shine on me.  In the words of an exasperated Charlie Brown: "Arrrgghhhh!!!"

I didn't WANT to be seen. I wanted to stay comfy and in the shadows. I wanted to lose some weight first. I wanted to wait until I built up my social media presence and "follower" count.  I wanted to wait until I was all over the news first!  (Nice one, Celeste.)  I kept feeding into my fear, focusing on the wrong things and justifying why I wasn't ready.  I knew I'd built a pretty good reputation of getting great results. Both with companies and with my individual clients.  I knew I was a trusted, passionate, and "above and beyond" service type of person.  But I kept coming up with excuses to hold myself back.  

Two weeks before the mastermind was set to launch, I told a good friend that I was thinking of canceling it.  She told me I was absolutely crazy and pretty much stuck on stupid for even considering canceling.  She was right. I recalled all the times I recognized lame excuses in my super-capable clients.  

In that moment, I recognized within myself a dangerous cycle of Ego, Perfectionism and Misplaced Energy (focusing on the wrong things) that made me rationalize my own stagnation.  To put it plainly, I was addicted to my excuses. They kept me stuck in "getting ready to get ready" mode. I looked super-productive, but was really hiding because I was afraid to look stupid. I was afraid to be seen and judged.

Taking a Stand

Recognizing my pattern of excuse addiction motivated me.  I saw it at the core of every super-competent person's decision not to live their passion.  Instead of cancelling my program, I added a critical component to it: "No excuse" accountability!  It changed everything!  I then started focusing on a different question: "What do I want to stand for in my life?"  I decided that I wanted to stand for being happy.  Imperfectly happy. I knew I had a gift for helping others transform their lives. I knew I didn't need to be perfect while I did it.  

Over the next 90 days, my mastermind participants and I were challenged to focus inward, listen for and confront the many excuses that justified our stagnation, move forward imperfectly and through fear, and make our vision real!  It was incredible. And, guess what? They LOVED it!  I I haven't looked back since.

That imperfect beginning (AND, my decision to come out of the shadows and let others know what I was doing), led to more referrals, more clients and a decision to live according to my family values.  

I now work just three days a week while my income increases month after month. I am more present for my family, have a deeper connection with my husband, and I am proudly there to look after my elderly dad just as he has always been there for me.  

My coaching practice is thriving. I have embraced and amplified my unique brand in the marketplace that has given me so many incredible opportunities to help individuals and organizations work through the fog of their ideas, get crystal-clear, and launch and monetize their long-held dreams and ideas!

 Life feels good and full and beautiful again! I am experiencing life on the other side of my excuses and I couldn't be happier!  I continue to break my excuses every day because excuse-addiction never quite goes away. It must be managed. Even still, I now know what I stand for and even my biggest excuses cannot hold me back ever again!