The greatest thing about starting a new year is the fresh start that it brings. That first day, week, or month on the 2013 calendar gives us permission to wipe the slate clean and start anew. This is the time to let go of those thinking processes and habits that have held us back, to embrace patterns that empower us and move us toward reaching our goals.
However, the ugly truth remains: Too often, many people end up facing the same resolutions year after year. This can be due to many reasons, but there is one in particular that is the greatest barrier to experiencing more professional and personal success…
Whenever I begin coaching with a new client, there is one particular quality that I look for in that person very early in the coaching relationship. This single quality is a sure-fire indicator of whether or not they will be highly successful in reaching their goals.
The quality I look for has little to do with how clear they are about what they want. It is not dependent on the amount of resources they have, how many books they have read, or seminars they have attended. It normally comes down to one simple thing: Their willingness and readiness to move beyond the excuses.
Have you ever heard any of these excuses?
• “My department hasn’t exceeded its goals because my staff doesn’t care enough”.
• “I really want that promotion, but it won’t happen because my boss is out to get me”.
• “I just can’t work with her. She makes me too angry.”
Excuses have the potential to be the deadliest enemy of your goals. They have the power to paralyze you and lull you into a comatose state, keeping you from moving forward.
Excuses always have one common denominator – they have a tendency to divert the responsibility from you and onto something or someone else. This blockade, where it is a person or a circumstance, then becomes the obstacle that keeps you from accomplishing what you want for your life. To any excuse, you can always add the comment, “It’s not my fault”.
It is true that obstacles can at times arise that can potentially deter or derail your plans. For example, if your key employee quits, it could leave you lacking a critical skill set in the department that is critical to forward movement. Or, if your orders don’t arrive on time, you could find yourself in a nearly impossible situation, which could challenge your deadline date. But in too many cases, we tend to default to excuses when our obstacles appear too difficult to tackle, and we don’t see a way out. Excuses become a means of justifying to ourselves that it is okay to give up; it is okay to not take any action; it is okay to not take any risks that might result in discomfort, failure or disappointment.
If you are ready to move past your excuses and move on to realizing your goals, then here are some factors to consider:
1. Take a close, internal look within. Regardless of how much a person or situation might be hindering you, there is always room for self-improvement. Be very honest with yourself and ask, “What am I doing that’s contributing to my lack of success? What can I change about me? What can I change about the situation?” Be willing to take personal responsibility – and take control of your own professional and personal destiny!
2. Be honest about your real desire for change. Sometimes we make excuses because we are afraid to take action. Other times we use them to delay making a decision. But your decision to pass the responsibility buck could also indicate that perhaps your desire for that goal is not so strong after all. Give yourself a “heart-check” and be sure that your decision to pursue your goal is a true desire that you sincerely want.
3. Decide how serious you are about getting what you want. Often times, it is much easier to complain about a problem instead of putting your hands to the plow and working on finding a solution. Ask yourself, “Am I really willing to pay the price to make my goal a reality, or do I just enjoy talking about it?” Reaching your goals will require some sacrifice. It is important to weigh the cost and then decide if you are willing to do what it takes to make it happen.
One of my most recently highly successful clients took this whole concept to heart. He wholeheartedly adopted a quote from a John Maxwell book that I suggested he read, and this phrase became his mantra: “Get up. Get over it. Get Going!”
I challenge you to move beyond your excuses today. “Get up. Get over it. Get Going!” And bring your goals to life!
Coaching Tip: Take some time to think about the write down responses to these questions:
1) Is there an area in your life where you are “passing the buck” or making excuses?
2) Do you REALLY want things to change? How Badly? What sacrifice are you willing to make?
3) What action can you take TODAY to start the path of positive change?
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