I wasn’t even a teenager when I learned an important lesson about making excuses.
I’m 12 years old, hair still damp from a swim meet at the Reading YMCA, giving my mom an earful of reasons I sucked in my race – and they all had to do with the “conditions,” my swim cap, other people, probably the lane I was in, maybe the snack bar line.
My mom got quiet before she said,
“Instead of excuses, make adjustments.”
MIC DROP, MOM.
If you know my mom, you know how rarely critical she is of me, how vociferously she cheers for me even when I lose.
So when those words landed it hit differently than any advice I’d ever heard before or since. That moment held weight.
I don’t always get it right (I’ve blamed a ref or 2 for a loss and a few times a bartender for too generous of a pour), but I’ve made a conscious effort since that day to modify > justify.
These days, hearing people make excuses triggers me a little to want to share my mom’s input and show them how possibility opens up when you release the need to blame or deflect. Leading a large team of people, I’ve gently (and not so gently) given this advice often. If people are open to the coaching, they can create the greatest acceleration in their businesses and personal goal attainment if they’re willing to make this adjustment. Personal accountability will catapult us into the greatest levels of achievement.
One of the most confident women I’ve ever known in business once squared her shoulders in a conversation and said, “If it’s to be, it’s up to me.” The world deserves us to take matters and outcomes into our own hands.
Whether it’s honoring our commitments in relationships, getting a workout in, or hitting a goal in our business, there are going to be times when things don’t play out like we intended or expected. And let’s face it, it’s in our nature to immediately look for other factors – or other people – to blame when we fall short. But, I implore you to consciously interrupt that pattern and consider these questions:
What factors contributed to this outcome?
What could I have done differently in this situation?
What can I shift going forward to create a different outcome?
By abandoning excuses and focusing on adjustments, we put ourselves in a powerful position to rise and dominate. Observe the most successful people you know, and I bet you’ll find this is what they spend their time on. Not blaming, not justifying. Just refining and advancing. Excuses suck energy, but thoughtful reflection amplifies future outcomes. You’re in the driver’s seat with this one life – let’s go make beautiful adjustments and WIN.