Over the last 10 years, I have spoken to over 100,000 delegates at over 1,000 conferences, I have read over 1,000 personal development books and spent oodles of money on courses, training and development. I have been lucky enough to meet, interview and work with some truly incredible and inspirational people and, perhaps most importantly, I have asked myself every day, “What is it that differentiates elite performers from merely good ones?”
My talks, my coaching and my work is based on the answers to this question and any one of these distinctions can change a life or a business but today I want to talk about just one of them, one of the simplest, yet one of the hardest to do… lose the excuses.
Most people and most businesses are riddled with excuses. They are endemic. They thread themselves through the psyche of individuals and through the layers of businesses. They are, for the most part, treated like facts. They are discussed as if they are real, solutions to these non-existent problems are debated and beliefs, emotions, actions and results are driven by the acceptance of them.
Becoming aware, of acknowledging and letting go of excuses can drive people to the top of the tree and businesses to phenomenal growth. But it is rarely that easy. Most people hang onto their excuses because it is easier to do so. It is easier to fail or to only achieve moderate success but to know that it was not your fault. It is easier to miss your targets and have a reason. It is easier to screw up your life and lay the blame firmly elsewhere. And that’s where most people stay, their lives and their businesses devoted to making excuses.
But, for a rare few, this is not the case. They recognise their reasons for failure as what they are, excuses. We’ve all used them but are you brave enough to acknowledge them for what they are and let them go now? There are thousands of excuses used by people all around you every day but here are some typical ones that can ruin your sales, your business and your life…
- It’s not my fault.
- It’s the market.
- I don’t have the time.
- They don’t like me.
- It’s because I am too… (old, young, skilled, unskilled, experienced, unexperienced… you get the idea).
- It’s my upbringing / education.
- I don’t have the contacts.
- It’s out of my control.
- It’s just bad luck.
- Our product is not competitive enough.
When you fail, what do you say to yourself? When you miss target, what do you think? When the managers in your business fail to perform the way you want them to, what’s your excuse? Who do you see as at fault? When your relationships with significant others in your life break down, how do you excuse yourself and where do you lay the blame?
Not easy is it?
In 1986 I made a pig’s ear of my “A” levels. There were reasons. My father died in a car crash. I moved schools. I had Glandular Fever. I could go on. But the bottom line is that these were all excuses. The reality is that I did not put the work in. I did not do the revision. I did not do the hard yards. For sure, there were challenges but I let them beat me. I did not double and redouble my efforts and ensure that I got the results that I should have. It was my fault and there should have been no excuses.
I carried these excuses into my first job and probably my second. When I decided to become a mature student and that did not work out, I had reasons.
There are always reasons for failure…
But there is also someone who is responsible. There is someone that should carry the can… and that was me. As, in your life, it is you. What excuses do you make to yourself when things don’t go the way you want? What excuses could you do with eliminating from your life? What excuses, if they were gone, would free you to go for true success in your business and personal life?
I cannot guarantee that you will achieve what you want. I cannot guarantee that you won’t fall on your face. And I cannot guarantee that you will get where you want to be. But I can guarantee that when you take the brakes off, lose the excuses and take responsibility, 100% responsibility for your own success, you will set yourself on the right road.