Do you remember a time when you were at school and you hadn’t done your homework? Did you own up and tell your teacher, ‘I didn’t do it because I decided to go down to the park with my friends’ or did you come up with a story?
‘My dog ate my homework’
An excuse is just an eloquent way of deflecting responsibility for failure away from something internal (you) to something external (the dog).
It soooo wasn’t your dog who ate your homework, it was YOU who made the decision to go to the park!
The thing is that many people continue to tell others and themselves versions of ‘the dog ate my homework’ story all the way through their adult life and this has a detrimental affect on their results
When you create an excuse, what you are really doing is inventing a story to rationalize your non-results, behavior or action as a way of negating responsibility for the outcome.
Giving away your power means that run the risk of creating self limiting beliefs, having massive regrets, feeling like a passenger instead of the driver in your life, your comfort zone shrinking rather than expanding and your self-esteem taking a beating.
Relevant Article: Top 5 Beliefs For Success
So why do we do it?
There are many reasons why people make excuses and each person is different. It’s so often driven by fear and here are just a few of the fears that drive people to create their justifications.
Fear or not being enough
Fear of failure
Fear of success
Fear of not being loved
Fear of change
Fear of rejection
What your excuses really mean.
The hardest part is to admit that you are actually making an excuse. The second hardest part is to ask yourself what does your excuse really mean?
We all have time for the things that we value.
- Maybe its because you don’t value yourself?
- Maybe it’s because you don’t know the difference between what’s important and what’s urgent?
- Maybe your filling up your time with unimportant things as a way of keeping yourself safe so you don’t have to face the new or scary task that will take you out of your comfort zone?
- Maybe you’re scared of what it would mean if you really were a success?
“I don’t have the money”
This is that business owners hear often. Again, we all have money for the things that we value.
However usually it’s because the person is choosing to allocate their funds to something else that they currently value more. It’s just that they often don’t recognise it is a choice.
So what are you choosing to allocate your money to? Is it getting you the results you want?
“I’m too old or I’m too young”
Age is a number, there are 14 year old self-made millionaires around the world and there are 75 year women skydiving out of airplanes.
When you say you are too young or too old what you are really saying is that you don’t have enough understanding, confidence or perspective.
“I can’t change, it’s just the way I am”
What you are really saying is that you are lacking motivation and reason to change. There is either too much percieved pain relating to change or you are unconsciously getting something out of staying the way you are.
Of course we can all change, if we didn’t we’d still be playing down the park with our mates, not running businesses. If you want to achieve better results then the change has to start with you.
“I need a fully detailed plan before I take action”
What you are really saying is that you are lacking perspective or are paralysing yourself with fear.
I am a huge advocate of planning however, I’m not a huge advocate for over planning. Taking action and implementing an imperfect plan is better than a plan that is never actioned.
You will only ever perfect your plan as you take action because there is always so much you can never know until you start to implement and find out what does and doesn’t work.
Here are four ways to help you let go of your stories and start getting results.
- Ask your self a better quality question.
- What’s the opportunity here?
- What do I need to learn from this?
- How can I ensure that next time I get a different result?
- What does my excuse, really mean?
- What is your ego protecting you from?
To let go of your excuses you first need to recognise that you are in fact creating them.
Your ego is something that we developed as cave men and women to keep us safe from harm. Back in those days there was a lot to be fearful of; if something rustled in the bushes it usually meant it was about to try and kill you.
These days however our ego still kicks into keep us safe from harm but in the vast majority of cases, the threat is perceived rather than real.
Contrary to popular perceptions, no business owner I know of died because they offered a product to a prospect and they said no….
So if you are making excuses, ask yourself if your ego is protecting you from something real or in fact a perceived threat that is holding you back.
- Focus on opportunities and solutions
There are always opportunities in every situation when you open yourself to see them.
What’s the opportunity of losing a client or a failed product? What can you learn?
Edison took 1,000 attempts to invent the light bulb. If he had made an excuse and given up we’d still be living in the dark. Instead he used each failure as a way of eliminating a way that the light bulb wouldn’t work so that he could get closer to the solution.
- Take responsibility
When you blame something or someone external for your results you make it their fault and that means that you aren’t in control of doing things differently next time.
When you decide to take responsibility you also take back the power. You will no longer be a passenger in your business at the mercy of external factors but the person who is able to get results.
Is it time that you let the dog off the hook and started to get better results in your business?
As well as being a Chartered Management Accountant (CIMA) and ex-CFO with over 20 years experience, she has also worked extensively with small and medium sized business owners to help them grow profitable businesses.
She's also a certified coach, NLP practitioner, Metadynamics TM Consultant and contributor for Kochie’s Business Builders.
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