When I work with my clients and students there is one thing that I see hold them back more than anything else.

Excuses.

I am no different, this is probably my biggest challenge as well.

Nothing is more efficient at shutting down your accountability, your creativity, your problem solving ability, and your energy than excuses. It is the fast track to mediocrity and unhappiness.

But what really is an excuse? Here is one definition – A reason or explanation put forward to defend or justify a fault or offense.

Excuses are a great self-defense mechanism. They protect you from having to put yourself out there. It gives you a free pass because it is not your fault! It is a convenient way to shift the blame and accountability from yourself to someone else, or even better – external circumstances.

Sometimes they come automatically without us even realizing it and stop us in our tracks.

My challenge to you

When is the last time you felt true pride and accomplishment from something that came EASY? It is through fighting adversity that we really discover what we are made of. It is the adversity that shows us how strong we are and gives us our greatest sense of accomplishment.

A challenge is something that can often be overcome, but doesn’t necessarily come easy. This is where real growth and accomplishment is born.

Who doesn’t like a challenge? Something that gets our attention, gets the juices flowing and gets us engaged. When I find myself making excuses, i do my best to turn it into a CHALLENGE.

Next time you think, or verbalize an excuse. Stop and clarify. Is this a fact that is truly insurmountable? Many times it is not.

Has anyone else ever overcome something similar? If someone else is capable, you are as well. Think of someone you greatly admire or respect. A role model or mentor. What would they do in this situation, would they stop, or engage the challenge and find a way?

This simply shift in moving from an excuse to a challenge can be the catalyst to get you headed in the right direction. You see, an excuse is a dead end. A reason to throw your hands up without accountability. A challenge will allow you to see solutions you wouldn’t otherwise see.

My favorite “excuse” is that I don’t have enough time. I am too busy, I am too overwhelmed to workout, to write more blogs, to update my website, and to get together with friends. As soon as I accept that excuse it absolves me from figuring out a way to make it a priority. It shuts me down. It is the easy way out and I know it.

I often think of the quote I have heard many times.

“If it is important you will find a way, if not, you will find an excuse”.

When I am truly honest with myself (not always an easy thing to do), I often end up admitting the real challenge is that I don’t “want it bad enough”.

The TRUTH is that I have 24 hours each day and 168 each week just like everyone else. The challenge is to prioritize the time I do have and figure out systems to be more efficient. To make best use of the time I do have. To say No to things that aren’t important and to schedule and commit to the things that are.

When I eliminate excuses, I take back accountability and put the focus on what I can control. When it is a challenge that can be overcome I am willing find a way through experimentation and trial and error. When it is an excuse, I give up.

What about you? Are you making any excuses that are really challenges just waiting to be solved?

No Excuses!

 

Your partner in success,

Josh Paulsen