How to use excuses to drive you

Excuses come in all shapes and sizes. Excuses are quite simply put…dream busters. On the other hand, what if, we used excuses to fuel our passions?

You know we each have the same 24 hours in a day and yet I often here people say they need more time. That the day seemed to fly by, and they have nothing to show for it. Have you ever found yourself saying that?

We have smartphones and tablets, laptops and televisions, coworkers and family members, that pull us away from our tasks in a moment without us even begin aware of it. Running our life on auto-pilot is second nature to us now.
So, what’s your excuse for not living life to the fullest? What is your escape from life? Where do you go to hide? Are you even present? I know these questions might seem kind of abrupt and in your face but too many times people turn to pass the buck instead of making informed, clear, decisive decisions about anything.

Have a look, if only for today or this moment, at what is your reason behind each of the interactions, thoughts, choices and decisions that you are making. Where are they leading you? Are you making the best use of your time? Do you even care?

I was thinking about this question after being on a coaching call with a client who was refusing to take responsibility for the outcomes that she was experiencing. What’s your excuse? It’s a simple question that has great implications.
Excuses place bright shiny objects in front of us, that steal our attention in an instant. It doesn’t matter how big or small, they are all time wasters. Do you know what your biggest time wasters are? Is it clutter, procrastination, inability to say no, daydreaming, putting out fires, poor delegation, no plan, habits, resisting change, a combination of these or something else?

But what happens when we use excuses to push us to do something? For instance, I think about this question even when planning a trip. What’s my excuse for spending money on yet another trip? So, I’ll be perfectly honest here, I travel for food. Yup, I love to eat, but it has to be really, really good food as well as good for me. I have a weird belief that my body is my temple and that what I put into it has to be worthy. Ok, so there are times when I just flat out will eat whatever is available or when I travel to places like Old Orchard Beach, Maine for some Pier French Fries but for the most part I am really concise and clear about what goes in my mouth.

After I’ve had a great meal or read an article about a certain region of the world that is known for raising a particular kind of animal, vegetable or fruit, then my antennas perk up and I am like a hound on a scent. The research begins, I work on a plan and then BAM, off we go. Living and eating like a native is always at the base of the travel plans for my husband and I.

This is exactly how we ended up in San Daniele, Italy. In pursuit of the best prosciutto in the world. It all began after reading an article in Bon Apetit magazine about prosciutto sandwiches. The seed was planted, it was the excuse that fueled the desire. After a short flight, a train ride (my favorite), and a car rental we found ourselves winding through the small villages and towns of the Italian countryside to our destination.

As a little girl there was an Italian delicatessen called Micucci’s Market the next town over, that is still open today. Every Thursday we would all pile into the car and take the weekly jaunt to Micucci’s. I still remember the smells coming from the deli. My dad’s mother was from Italy, so he was very particular about his cold cuts and being a big man, he loved his food. So, this trip to San Daniele had other excuses fueling it. It was a trip that I knew my dad would have loved to have taken.

San Daniele is a small village in the mountains with a population of 8100 but boasts the most magnificent prosciutto in the world. San Daniele, sits halfway between the Carnic Alps and the Adriatic Sea which provides an exquisite micro-climate for the meats aging process, which has been taking place since the 1600’s. The views of this region are breathtaking.

Prosciutto, which translates to “ham” in Italian, is made from the hind legs of the pig. Because of the aging process, prosciutto does not have to be cooked, unlike bacon or pancetta. There are mainly two regions in Italy where prosciutto is famous, that is Parma and San Daniele. There is a long-standing battle between these two regions as to who offers the best prosciutto. I say, you must check them both out for yourself and then you can decide.

There are never any additives to the aging process other than salt and the air and, of course, time. The aging process takes from 200 to 400 days, so just as in parmesan cheese, the older the better or like a fine red wine. Can I say that about myself…that I’m getting better with age? I always have feared about becoming a cranky old lady.

As my husband and I descend upon the small town of San Daniele it is siesta time and the town is quiet and the streets are empty. It is ten minutes to two and we are starving. Hoping to get a taste of this exquisite ham we find ourselves entering a delicatessen where the pig legs are covering the walls. The butcher behind the counter is expertly slicing some prosciutto for his client and offers us a slice. It’s heavenly. As he is about to close up shop for the siesta time, we ask him where he would go to eat.

His eyes light up and he draws a map on a napkin, pointing us in the direction of a small restaurant a few blocks away that is down a side street, off the beaten path. We arrive at the L’Osteria di Tancredi restaurant which is simply charming.

We are seated and ask the waitress to bring us a board of prosciutto, cheese with paired wine. These are the moments in life I seek. When time stands still. The taste, the smell, the wine…life doesn’t get much better than this simple meal.

Then I notice a couple at the next table were just served noodles with this amazing prosciutto on top. I ask them if they speak English and thankfully, they did. They described this dish as their favorite (they are natives) and I quickly summon the waitress as we order the same. Homemade pasta with aged prosciutto and a perfectly paired Italian wine. I can honestly say that there is nothing better than eating food from the region, in the region, served by the natives. They are passionate which makes it even better.

So, if you are ready to start having your excuses work to your benefit, then book your travel next June for the Aria di San Daniele La Festa, which is the annual San Daniele prosciutto festival. Which for you pork lovers would certainly be an event to attend. And while you’re at it, stop by the L’Osteria di Tancredi for a bite of something fabulous, maybe a mouthwatering dessert? My husband was certainly in heaven when our very attentive waitress suggested a bite of something native.

The next time you attempt to point your finger at someone or something as the excuse for you not being able to complete something, then think of this post and flip the script. Stop using excuses for not achieving your goal, instead use the excuse to empower you to push forward and live an outrageous life!

Eat well, laugh often!

Merry Lynch

P.S. Don’t miss next weeks post titled, “Are you worth more as you age?”