From the back of the class room I heard the lamest excuse I have heard in a while.
“I didn’t have any internet.”
The student was telling me she was unable to do the homework, which was essentially working on her business plan, because she didn’t have any internet.
What she was telling me was an excuse.
What she was telling herself was a story to justify her lack of accomplishment.
We all tell ourselves stories like this. Maybe not as severe as the entire internet being down for the three weeks she had to work on her business plan, but certainly to a lesser degree elsewhere.
Think of when you are running late. You take off from where you were, knowing you are cutting it close. You burst through the door, jump in your car, take off before your seat belt is completely fastened and race around thinking of what all of the people will say to you when you finally arrive.
You think, I’m only going to be a few minutes late.
Then you’ll think, traffic is terrible. If only they would add another twelve lanes, this highway could actually move.
Then you’ll blame others and wish they were not going slow and in your way.
Then you’ll think that the meetings are never on time anyways, so it isn’t a big deal.
Finally, you’ll get all Kanye and think that they should be honored by your lateness.
You will continue telling yourself these stories, these excuses, until you arrive.
Then you’ll stay too late and do it all over for your next meeting.
Did those excuses serve you?
Did you even believe your own story as to why you were late?
Of course you did. We all do. Well, maybe we don’t believe your story, but we certainly believe our own.
The drive through line at any fast food chain is filled with people telling themselves a story.
They will be filled with excuses as to why they cannot fit in their pants.
An outsider could tell them why without much trouble.
You see, we all make up these stories and allow ourselves to justify our poor performance in life and business by adding excuses.
Do your excuses serve any purpose but to justify poor performance?
If not, it’s time to get rid of them.
Do not allow yourself to have excuses. Do not allow yourself to cop-out of why you only achieved your meager results. If you do, you are telling yourself that mediocre performance is acceptable. You are telling those around you that they are not worth your motivation and drive and that you are not worth your motivation and drive. You are succumbing to less than your best and telling yourself that someday you will do better.
Someday is today.
Don’t get me wrong, there are excuses and then there are reasons. A reason for being late is a flat tire or a recently deceased grandma. We’re talking within the last few minutes.
An excuse is something that you had the power to avoid.
The tight rope is understanding which is which and when you will allow a reason and when you will accept an excuse.
Here’s a tip: never accept an excuse, rarely accept a reason.
How many excuses do you like to hear from other people?
That’s the same number they likely want to hear from you.
So print this out and hang it up as a reminder to how many excuses are an OK number.
James Kademan is a Business Coach for Draw In Customers Business Coaching in Madison, Wisconsin as well as the author of The BOLD Business Book. When he isn’t telling his clients, employees and students that he accepts no excuses, he is busy guiding entrepreneurs to success in business and beyond. He blogs successfully to the world at www.drawincustomers.com. If you are considering hiring a business coach, take a moment to call James at (608)210-2221. Eliminate excuses, watch your world improve.