No Excuses

“I attribute my success to this: I never gave or took any excuse.”

Florence Nightingale

     There it is right in front of us. We can see it as soon as we walk out of our front door every morning. We can see it as we sit at our breakfast table and look out of the window. We can see it when we close our eyes and concentrate on that wonderful vision. That vision we see is success. It is your success and you own it. Once you take responsibility for it you will realize the only way to make it happen is to do just that, make it happen. There are no excuses. You shouldn’t give them or accept them.

     Not giving any excuses is a mindset. It is the epitome of taking responsibility. However, taking responsibility is much easier said than done. Taking responsibility is what separates the middle of the road performer from the Hall of Fame 1st ballot inductee. When you take responsibility you don’t give excuses. You take your losses and acknowledge the role you played in them. You have the internal integrity to say “this happened and I did (or didn’t) do it”. This works in your favor when you want to do something because you will do everything in your power to do it. You won’t let an excuse be the reason you didn’t get it done.

     Not taking an excuse is a disciplined practice. It is as important to your success as it is to others. When you don’t take excuses you set the bar for the people you deal with. For some that bar will be too high to clear. For others that bar will either change or solidify their mindset to not give excuses. When the bar is too high most people will also move on. When the bar is not too high most people will happily stay within your community. When you build the right community you will have the assistance you need to achieve all of your success. That is why it’s so important not to take excuses.

     So how does one who is used to giving and taking excuses change? The first requirement is to be able to identify yourself as someone who gives and takes excuses readily. Here’s a test to see where you sit on the spectrum: Your bosses doesn’t like you. You know it because of the way he/she interacts with you. When it’s time for you performance review you receive a less than stellar rating. You’ve done great work during the rating period and you believe you deserve a better rating. Would you think like person A or person B?

A. “I knew there was no way I was going to get a great rating because my boss doesn’t like me. I like working here but I’m going to have to find another job because this just isn’t working.”

B. ”I know I’m in a challenging situation and I failed to meet that challenge. What am I going to have to do to get a stellar rating next review? Whatever it is I’m going get it done because I refuse to settle for less.”

This may be an elementary example but I hope you see the point. Person B is taking responsibility and therefore not giving any excuses. Person A is not taking responsibility and is making excuses.

     To take this further let’s continue to play this out. Person A will most likely start looking for another job. Once Person A finds that next job they will move on. They will have the experience of having a boss that didn’t like them but they won’t have the experience of what to do in that situation. When Person A starts at the new company they risk the possibility of returning to the same situation. Unfortunately since there wasn’t any growth from the previous role they will most likely get the same results.

     On the other hand Person B will take steps to determine what can be done to improve the situation so that they do get the rating they desire. Their boss may never actually like them but they will learn how to make it impossible for that boss not to give them a great rating. Person B will change their approach based on research, coaching, counseling or a great article shared on Linkedin. With that change Person B will grow and be better prepared for the future. Person B will win because anytime you can grow you win and winners are the ones who succeed.

     After you acknowledge you need to change the next step is to increase your awareness. As stated earlier taking responsibility is a mindset. In order to have this mindset you must make the declaration that this will be your mindset moving forward. By being aware you will analyze how you are handling any situation so you can “catch” yourself if you ever start making excuses. You can also “catch” others making excuses. If you find yourself making an excuse take a pause and reflect on your thinking. Make sure you are taking full responsibility for the situation. Then determine what you could do differently if the situation were to occur again. Sometimes those answers will be simple/clear and sometimes they will be complex/muddy. In either case developing those answers will benefit you greatly. They will help you take better control of your success.

     Your success is right in front of you. It is yours for the taking. You have a unique path to get there but it will take your full effort to get there. You have to be disciplined. You have to be confident. You have to be prepared. Most of all you have to take responsibility to achieve it. By taking responsibility you can’t give excuses and you can’t allow others to give you excuses. With that mindset you are guaranteed to grow. With that growth success is right around the corner. As always I wish you the best and remind you to enjoy the journey.

With gratitude,

Leave a comment