February 29 is a rare scheduling opportunity – honest-to-goodness free time! In fact, “Leap Day” inspires many to take advantage of this uncommon extra day on the calendar by giving up long-held excuses and taking big, bold professional risks, like finally leaving an unfulfilling job or gunning for a major promotion.

But where did this extra day come from?

Earth’s particular orbit forces us to account for the extra six hours beyond our standard clock that it takes to make a full orbit each year. Therefore, every four years, this extra banked time adds up to an entire day added to our calendars.

With that in mind, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson thinks about “Leap Days” a little differently, “We’re not leaping into anything,” he said. “It’s a catch-up day. The calendar owes us a day.”

In other words, February 29th is not free; we earned this time over the course of the last four years! It’s time for us to take responsibility for the opportunity in front of us. So, in the spirit of taking a more meaningful leap, here are the top five, easy to use excuses to remove from your job search immediately:

“I don’t have enough time.”
Leap Day is the perfect example of why this excuse shouldn’t fly; you never know where extra time might be hiding! If your main concern is finding more hours in the day, make sure to map out your schedule in full to see where you could be better using your time. Detailing your schedule by month, week, day and even by the hour can truly be an eye opening experience. For example, you might notice that too much time is being devoted to entertainment on the weekend. Instead of binge-watching an entire season of a new television show, an hour of this time can be reserved for new education.

“It’s not the right time.”
There will always be a reason not to take action right this moment:

“It was a late night last night.”

“__insert holiday here__ is just around the corner!”

“I’m just resting my eyes. I’ll do it in a minute”

The truth is: there’s never a perfect time for anything. Unfortunately, decisions are not made in a vacuum and life choices are impacted by the multifaceted world around us. If you’ve made a choice deep within to move forward, drop the search for the perfect moment and embrace action!

“I don’t know how.”
If you feel unqualified to make a move, it’s understandable to feel apprehensive; after all, preparation is key when trying to make meaningful change. However, this excuse shouldn’t stop you dead in your tracks. Whether it’s gaining technical skills for a new position, or just following a long held passion, there are countless opportunities for self-education, both through traditional academic institutions as well as recent online innovations. Even if you might not become an expert overnight, employers and peers alike respect a commitment to continued education.

“It’s all about who you know, and I don’t know the right people.”
Sure, connections can help you to be more in tune with opportunities in your industry, but just like Leap Days, they aren’t exactly “free” passes. People with thriving professional networks put in work, and demonstrate a commitment to nurturing and expanding their groups. Rather than bemoaning the connections being formed around you, why not try building some of your own? Taking chances to meet with professionals for coffee, lunch or other independent meetings can help you expand your perspective. Membership within professional groups in your industry is also a great way to meet new people!

“There’s a chance that I’ll fail.”
There’s always a chance of failure, but that all actually depends on your perspective! The fear of not being one hundred percent successful in the end is no reason to give up before trying. Even if you only make it part of the way towards your end goals, the experience gained and lessons learned along the way could be invaluable.

Today might feel like a free day, but it is important to remember that it took you four whole years to earn this extra time! Rather than making excuses for putting off change, it is time to drop the excuses and embrace a true leap. Do you have any additional examples to share? Post your comments below!