Our book of excuses
In a recent conversation with my boss he said to me, “put that in your book of excuses and the next time they use it, say ‘you used that one already.’” Hmmm, this got me thinking and I must say I thought about it a lot. How many excuses are there in the world today?
I’ve read somewhere that there are only seven plot lines for stories, so how many are there for excuses? With over 30 years of experience in business and of that, 20 years in Human Resources, I have heard more than my share of excuses. It starts small when we use “the dog ate my homework,” or, “I forgot it at home,” but some of us may graduate to even bigger ones, like my favorite, “I had amnesia over the weekend and no one would help me.” Granted I heard this one when I worked in New York City so some would say that there may be some plausibility to it but….in the end it was only an excuse as to why he was not at work. And one of the most common is that we can simply ignore the person, the email, the request but, that in and of itself, is just an excuse, right?
So I took this exploration a little deeper, to my own personal excuses and, like you, I have a few. I can always fall back on “work is so busy,” or, “there is never enough time in the day,” and, “my life is not my own,” but in the end aren’t these just excuses too? Society gives us excuses all the time, or accepts our excuses but eventually doesn’t society or life just move on without us?
So what is the weight of an excuse, the cost to us? Ultimately this is really the question after all.
What is the weight of an excuse?
What does it cost us in the end?
And here is where it got really personal for me, a one-on-one conversation with myself. What does it cost me? How heavily does it weigh me down? Why don’t I just be honest or get the work done or get home when I say I will, whichever it is at the time. I realize that some of it may be overcommitting me, just like you, but in the end there is a price to pay just the same.
Clearly I don’t have the answer or answers to my questions, I only know that the cost to me has been many a sleepless night, needless worry over something, and missed opportunities. I can get sleep, I can complete the task and stop worrying but I can never get those opportunities, those times with family and friends, back….they are spent and the bank may be overdrawn.
But today I resolved to challenge myself to a mantra of ‘no more excuses’, to start what I say I will start, complete things when I can, accept the ramifications or rewards as they come; to move forward and not tread water; to seize the time no matter how small; to do and to be….wherever it takes me. Will I fail, I am certain of it. Will I succeed, sometimes. Will it eventually make a positive change in my life? Amen.
What is your excuse?