By Sally Higgins, Accelerate Now
According to Collins Dictionary an excuse is 'a reason or justification' or 'to make allowance for'. Perfect. We are so good at avoiding what needs to be done or allowing ourselves to accept less than we deserve that we even have a word for the act of doing so.
'Yeah but'...famous words! If you hear 'yeah but' train yourself to understand that an excuse is on its way. The excuse is coming any second now. Align the phrase 'yeah but' to a mental image of a large bright red flag furiously blowing in the wind.
Because a life of 'yeah but' is simply not good enough for you. A life of 'yeah but' means accepting an inferior path or a lesser quality of life. Free yourself today from 'yeah but' and notice how your life takes off around you.
Digging deeper, even worse than allowing 'yeah but' to enter the vocabulary is the curios amount of energy some people will use up in thinking up good excuses. We know that excuses lead to less than we deserve and yet some people will spend vital energy creating excuses.
'I haven't completed the project, what shall I tell my boss?'
'I forgot our anniversary is tomorrow, what can I say?'
I realise that sometimes there is a need to bend truths. I realise that sometimes it is appropriate to change the story a little in order to not hurt other's feelings. What I am getting at here is our internal truth. Our authenticity. Our core being.
Are you someone who operates using excuses? Do you allow yourself to miss deadlines and not achieve your best, knowing that you can offer up some deep seated well argued justification, as opposed to just being your best?
Given the choice of putting the energy into the doing or putting the energy into the justification and rationalizing, doing the doing wins hands down every time.
Think about that 'thing' that is on your mind that you haven't done. How much time have you spent avoiding, justifying, excusing and minimalising the issue? How far towards completion would you be if you had directed the energy towards the doing instead? Would it still be on your plate right now?
We even go to the lengths of judging and awarding merit points for excuses. Hence the phrases 'good excuse' and 'poor excuse'. How come it matters whether an excuse is good or bad? An excuse is an excuse. If we are not living to our best - does it matter whether our rationalization is good or poor?
The challenge today is to free yourself from a life of excuses. Step up if you have to. Hold yourself accountable to a higher standard if you need to. Do whatever it takes to eliminate 'yeah but' from your vocabulary.
Once we stop making our own excuses we also stop making excuses for other. It is inevitable. A good example is a relationship. We all know someone who tolerates more than their fair share in a relationship. Some of us are guilty of doing this ourselves;
He doesn't ring when he said he would. She says 'he's probably busy'.
She comes home in an angry mood and takes it out on him. He says 'her work is very demanding'.
He is physically violent. She stays because 'I know he loves me'.
Having mastered the art of not making excuses for ourselves or for others, the next level is to not accept excuses from anyone else. The challenge tomorrow is to free yourself from the excuses of others.
Behaviour creates behaviour. If you 'make allowances' for others, they learn that allowances are made. If you hold others accountable, they learn to be accountable. If you do not accept excuses – others around you will stop offering them.
As I type this I can hear my ex boss saying 'don't tell me why you haven't done it, tell me when it will be done!'
There's no excuse for excuses!