“Ninety-nine percent of all failures come from people who have a habit of making excuses.”
~George Washington Carver

The other day I was talking with a colleague about something that had happened, something that had gone wrong on a project. As we dug deeper and deeper into the situation, my colleague offered more and more reasons why the errors were simply not his fault, or they couldn’t be helped.

I listened carefully, as honestly all of his reasons made perfect sense…in one way. And then I also realized that all of his reasons, his excuses, were keeping us from getting to the real issues and the causes of the errors so that we could correct them for the future. I reminded my colleague that it never really matters whose fault anything is, and that we can always help things…and then I walked away thinking about how often I hear the same sorts of comments from my colleagues, my friends, my clients…and yes, myself. “I couldn’t help it,” I hear in my head. “I only responded that way because of what she did,” my clients will explain.

I don’t know where we learn to explain our behavior away, to make excuses for what we do and what happens around us, but I’ve come to believe that it does limit our success. Maybe, as George Washington Carver points out, it even causes our failures. I now challenge everyone around me to get rid of their excuses, own their behavior and circumstances, and simply do their best. I challenge my clients. I challenge my colleagues. And I challenge myself.

Own where you are, what you do, and how you do it. Make no excuses and let the successes begin.

Where are you making excuses? How can you stop…now?
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If you enjoyed this post, you can read more like it in our book, The Power of Thoughtful Leadership: 101 Minutes To Being the Leader You Want To Be, available on Amazon.

For support in not making excuses, contact Robyn at rmcleod@chatsworthconsulting.com.

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