An Excuse: The ONE Word that will Derail Your Career
My excuse was light speed immediate when my high school baseball coach called and invited me to speak at a Legion Baseball banquet. I told him I had a busy day that day. He encouraged me and said, “You are doing all right. Come and tell them what it takes.” Noticed he said, ‘all right’. I agreed to talk but immediately regretted it.
The One Word: An Excuse
It was four weeks or so before the banquet. “Who I am to influence them?” I thought. As the date approached, I could not think of anything to say. I agonized over this. I kept thinking, “I didn’t make the pros. My failure to reach my goal was because I did not work hard enough. Maybe I should have practiced more. I played in Minnesota, not California. The weather short-changed me. If I did not have to wear glasses, things would have been different.” I kept thinking of a new excuse every day. I had a vision in my mind with this headline in the local paper: “Hometown Failure Returns.”
The night of the banquet, I still had no speech as I drove to the Legion Hall. Finally, I thought, did I learn anything even though I didn’t achieve my dream?” For the first time in my life. I released my excuses and feelings of failure. My mind focused on what I had learned. That evening I shared the value of a dream. Now I had a new one, to own a consulting business promoting coaching and training. It was a liberating event for me. I believe it was of importance to those young men on the baseball team, too. By began to forget my trumped-up excuses. Now, I could focus on a new dream. I began to learn how to tap my real potential.
The Truth about Excuses
The truth is that sometimes we fail. Sometimes we are not good enough yet to accomplish something we have set our sights on. Maybe it will never happen. If we stay there, we get stuck making excuses for our inactivity or failure. Then we have a choice to make. Do we learn or do we continue to make excuses?
An excuse is a reason or explanation that we create to make us feel better as we defend or justify a fault, mistake failure or an offense. Excuses do not serve us; they derail us. Why? Because as soon as we buy in to one, it is easier to embrace another. Before you know it, just as I learned, they are unpleasant habits.
10 Quotes about the Pain of Excuses
Review these ten quotes that define how dis-empowering excuses are:
- “I attribute my success to this – I never gave or took any excuse.” Florence Nightingale
- “Nothing is impossible; there are ways that lead to everything, and if we had sufficient will, we should always have sufficient means. It is often merely for an excuse that we say things are impossible.” Francois de La Rochefouauld
- “Excuses are the nails used to build a house of failure.” Don Wilder and Bill Rechin
- “Don’t make excuses — make good.” Elbert Hubbard
- “He who excuses himself accuses himself.” Gabriel Meurier, Trésor des sentences
- “Maybe you do not like your job, maybe you didn’t get enough sleep. Well, nobody likes their job, nobody got enough sleep. Maybe you just had the worst day of your life but, you know, there is no escape, there is no excuse, so just suck up and be nice.” Ani Difranco
- “No one ever excused his way to success.” Dave Del Dotto
- “Excuses are the tools with which persons with no purpose in view build for themselves great monuments of nothing.” Steven Grayhm
- “The best day of your life is the one on which you decide your life is your own. No apologies or excuses. No one to lean on, rely on, or blame. The gift is yours — it is an amazing journey — and you alone are responsible for the quality of it. This is the day your life really begins.” Bob Moawad
- “The person who really wants to do something finds a way; the other person finds an excuse.” Author Unknown
We all face challenges in life. Whatever it is, a hopeful vision propels us to success not our excuses. But we must make a choice. Consider Cliff Miedl a plumber’s apprentice. As he was jackhammering a hole to get to a water pipe, he accidentally touched a high voltage cable and received 30,000 volts of electricity. He was horribly burned as well as suffered three cardiac arrests. As you could imagine he had a long, arduous recovery including fifteen surgeries over fifteen months.
Cliff’s body was in pain, so much so that he could not walk. Certainly, many excuses confronted him, but he persevered anyway. He defied the doctors by learning to walk again. He began to kayak to become stronger. Over time he entered and won races, and eventually made the US Olympic team. At the Sydney Olympics in 2000, 603 of his team members voted Cliff the flag bearer as they marched into the stadium on opening night. More importantly, while he did not win a medal, he was a champion.
Pulling It All Together
In conclusion, Cliff’s indomitable human spirit helped him transform his perception of a tragedy and turned it into a life-changing triumph. Today he is a successful speaker and motivator.
Furthermore, we all have this spirit. When we lose or are faced with difficult life circumstances, we must deny fuel to our excuses. Instead, choose to create a new goal or dream. Then act today! Do not quit. It is called being resilient. Dr. Martin Luther King said, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience but where he stands at times of challenge and change.”
Also, do you want more personal success in life? See this complimentary Success Practices Assessment and Guidebook.
In addition, go here for our RealTime Learning & Training, a leadership and personal development website. Over 210 micro-learning and career development resources at your fingertips!
Finally, do you want to accelerate your leadership success? See Rick’s newest book, The 5 Dynamics of Servant Leadership: Inspire Your Team to Achieve Extraordinary Goals! And go here for Rick’s best seller, Superstar Leadership eBook.