Upgrade Your Personal ‘Exit Strategies’ for 2011

Business planners often include an ‘exit strategy’ detailing how they plan to leave the business: will they ‘run it dry’ (increase personal salary, pay off debts and close down), sell your shares, or liquidate?  These strategies require advance planning and are often well-thought out.

But have you ever thought about your own personal exit strategies – the ones you use for giving up on your own personal projects, hopes and dreams?

In most books about personal change and growth we are often told that our reasons for pressing ahead with our projects must be more important than our reasons for quitting. This is true.

But when was the last time you examined the validity of your reasons FOR quitting?

Why DO you give up?

Is it because you are thoroughly defeated and cannot go on, broken in body and spirit? Or are there some other, lesser reasons?

You will read enough articles in 2011 about having big enough reasons to stay the course and achieve your dreams.

In this article I will examine some of the ways we justify giving up and encourage you to decide if they are really important enough to give up on what you want. Forewarned is forearmed as they say. If you know your reasons for giving up and they are invalid – you can change them.

Physical Health

I’m too tired.

Think about Christopher Reeve or Steven Hawkins. If you read their biographies they have had to cope with far more than just tiredness. Physical pain was and is part of their everyday routine.

If you are constantly tired, work out why. Unless you have a physical illness, you will have to adjust your schedule and go to bed earlier.

If that is not possible then you either need to make some radical changes or decide that the discomfort of tiredness can be tolerated in favour of your long-term goal. You simply may need to drink more water and change your diet. Coffee does not replace decent REM sleep. Red-bull should be used when you are hunting the love of your life who has been kidnapped by an evil villain (and not on World of WarCraft!)

Otherwise, when you reach the end of your life do you really want to look back and make the excuse that you were always too tired?



Low Frustration Tolerance

In small doses ambiguity, anxiety, insecurity, uncertainty and vulnerability are all normal feelings. We stunt our growth when we deny that we are human, and fallible. We don’t know everything and we are not all powerful.

When, in our minds, we act like the world should bend to our will, we deny the fact that it doesn’t. We must learn to accept and tolerate these uncomfortable feelings, and how to get on with life regardless of them. Some psychologists call the immature refusal of life’s discomfort’s LFT – low frustration tolerance and you can read about it here.

Childish thinking

The Bible says “When I was a child I thought like a child…when I became a man I put away childish thinking.” In this article are a list of distorted thinking patterns, many left over from childhood and the bottom line is that these need to go in order for you to be able to more effectively tackle life in its complexity.

You can get coaching to facilitate the change or start with some of the great books on the market: Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy or the marvellously titled: How to Stubbornly Refuse to be Miserable about Anything Ever Again (yes anything)!

Low Ego Strength

Basically, ego-strength is your ability to look reality in the face without panicking or running away. When we don’t like the facts we often engage in what Cy Wakeman, author of Reality Based Leadership, calls ‘drama’ which is nothing more than making up stories about the situation that have little basis in anything other than our own prejudices.

In the book she offers the following questions for dealing with a situation when it is not going the way you want.

  • What do you believe in this moment?
  • What are the facts (sensory based, facts)?
  • Who kind of a manager or employee would you be without this drama?
  • What would you do to help that would add value?

Bottom line: being able to face the reality of your own thoughts and feelings (like you were designed to be able to do!) and your reactions to the outside world means you can stay focused and on track.

All of these above three dovetail into this next one:

You have to deny yourself

You often have to give up one thing in order to get another. Simple. You give up eating extra sweets and chocolates to help with loosing weight. You give up late night movies to get more sleep. You give up reacting impulsively as you learn to be more patient. What do you need to give up in order to get what you want? What do you tell yourself you can’t live without which is actually getting the way of your success?

Faulty Convincer Strategy

A convincer strategy is a mental process you used to become convinced of something. How many times do you need to see, hear or feel something before you become convinced its true?

It’s worth remembering that this mental ‘ticking off’ until you reach the magic number is something you learned to do, it’s not inherent. Therefore, if you automatically give up on the third attempt, now is the time to ask yourself if there is anything magical or justifiable about giving up at that point? Do you really need to give up then? After all, some people say you haven’t failed until you give up….


Is that a physical can’t or a psychological one? I ‘can’t’ jump a 60 foot gap but believing I can’t talk to a crowd of people is just that  – a belief. If there is no physical reason why you can’t do something then you are physically and mentally capable of doing it – you may just need to adjust your attitude.

Change your expectations

Expectations are beliefs about the future based on what happen in similar situations in the past. But the past happened in the past possibly at a time when you had a different or fewer resources than you do now.

What would the past have been like if you had reacted with the resources you have now?

How would you react now in the same situation with the mental and emotional, physical and even spiritual resources you have now? Yes, would would and will respond differently, won’t you? (Thanks for Morty Lefkoe for this one.)

Equating Performance with Value

Do you know anyone who gets really angry or depressed when they don’t perform well at work? It could be that they have equated their value as an employee with their value as a person. We call this over-identifying with a concept, making your ‘self’ the equivalent of how well you perform the conceptual ideas. Personally, I have separated my value as a human being loved by God from the work I do. Then if I have a bad day at work, I am not a bad person and I don’t want to give up because of the psychic pain that equation causes me.

Give up on Giving Up!

Here’s a radical thought – give up on giving up! L.Michael Hall who went from sleeping in his car to being a millionaire who has written over 30 books and runs the worldwide Neurosemantics movement says that he just doesn’t process the idea of ‘failure’ any more. It’s a non-word for him like “snargaliiturgitplop”.

What if you didn’t know what failure meant?

To be clear, I am not talking about continuing on until you bankrupt or kill yourself.  But perhaps you have taken that word a little too seriously?

Success is a mental game so if you can remove as many unnecessary handicaps as possible, you’ve got a better chance of … success!


If you want to start 2011 with a serious focus on building your mindset to succeed, you can contact me, Doug Cartwright, about a free Explore your Breakthrough in 2011 session.

I am a Meta-Coach who uses the most radical and effective coaching system on the market and I’d love to walk with you on your journey. Visit www.livingwords.net/freeintro.html


Erin shows overscheduled, overwhelmed women how to do less so that they can achieve more. Traditional productivity books—written by men—barely touch the tangle of cultural pressures that women feel when facing down a to-do list. How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.

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