Excuses are tools of the incompetent and are used to build monuments of nothingness. Those who excel in it seldom excel in anything else but excuses. –Anonymous
Whoever said this was a genius!
Excuses are a waste of time and a way to keep you stuck where you are. Bottom line: don’t make them. I’ve heard time and time before that there are reason, then there are excuses. Reasons are due to life priorities or emergencies. Excuses are simply just because. Reasons have validity. Excuses can be fake as a Barbie doll’s hair. In the real world, excuses lead to inactivity, unproductiveness and complacency- the very things we as people have to avoid.
Now, if you don’t plan on making progress in life or plan on being successful in your own right, then continue doing whatever it is you have been doing to get where you are. But if you are one of few who desire to do more, have more and be more, you may want to take heed to the rest of this message.
Because I want us all to progress in our personal and business lives, I have come up with three action steps you can start implementing immediately to shift you from making excuses to delivering results.
Step #1 Learn the difference between something that’s important and something that should be a priority.
When you sit down to make your daily to-do list, put more thought into it! At the top of your list should be three things you MUST complete or do before the day is out. Priorities are things that are life and death and I don’t mean literally life or death to an extent. To the things first that make you better as a person and better as a business professional. Put things like doctors’ appointments, meetings and tasks with daily deadlines on this list. Honestly, everything you take on needs a deadline so you won’t fall into the trap of procrastination. After you get your priorities down, everything else can fall in line. Hair appointments, hobbies and side-gigs fall into the important category. Personally, in the top spot of my daily to-do list is meditation. Why? Because I understand that self-care is a top priority. As a single mother, small business owner and graduate school student, I have had to learn that in order for me to perform at my best level, I must make sure I am balanced and centered at the start of my day- before life gets my attention.
Step #2 Commit only to the things you know you can do.
Listen, I know we all get those impulses to say “Yes” to every opportunity that comes our way. We don’t want to feel left out or feel like we are missing anything. The truth is, sometimes saying “No” is the best choice. In your personal and professional life, here is a premise to live by: Never over-promise and under-deliver. Commit to the things that will lead to bigger and better opportunities. Agree to do the things that you know you will put your heart and soul into. Do not jump at doing everything because in doing everything, something will be left undone. (Somebody will catch that tomorrow.)
Step #3 Leave your excuses at the door.
At the end of the day, nobody really cares why. Not that may sound harsh but it’s the truth! When it comes to other people and you working with or for them, they do not care why you didn’t deliver. They care about what you said you would do and why it wasn’t done. Making excuses for your shortcomings diminishes your reputation. If something major comes up and it causes you to have to cancel on completing a task or meeting with someone, do your best to let them know beforehand. Having a no-call-no-show is not a good look. Better yet, make it a point to get things done early if possible. Most would agree that better early than late or not at all. It’s not rocket science, its common courtesy.
If you want to set yourself apart from everyone else, you have to operate differently than everyone else. There truly is enough success in the world for everyone to get some but how soon you get it and how much you get is contingent upon the amount of work you put in. I do believe if you start using these three steps, you will begin to feel better about your decision making and allocating your time where it need to be given.