How To Stop Making Excuses And Get S*#% Done

I attribute my success to this – I never gave or took any excuse. – Florence Nightingale


Fear can lead to the most convincing excuses.

They sound solid and legit when you tell them to others. Yet, the truth is, you know better. You know your excuses are just a way to deceive yourself about why you aren’t taking action.   

We lie to ourselves when we make excuses to explain why we’re cutting corners, stalling out, or not leaping toward a new opportunity.

Excuses are emotional rationalizations. And they suck. They don’t fool anyone. Nor do they protect you or clarify your behavior. Instead, they prevent you from being your best by helping you blame external factors when you really need to be honest with yourself.

Throughout my executive career, I think I've heard every excuse in the book from my colleagues. Here are some of the all-time hits:


·      I’m too busy …

·      We don’t have enough money.

·      I'll change when she changes …

·      It's not my fault.

·      I was just about to do it …

·      They won't like/accept/respect me.

·      I don't have enough experience …

·      I’m waiting for the right time.

·      I'll do it tomorrow …

·      I don't know how …

I’m human, too, and I've used many of these excuses during my career. These phrases feel as if they have the power to get you off the hook. When in reality, they damage your credibility and keep you from being an emotionally intelligent leader. Ultimately, they fuel your limiting beliefs and push you toward poor decisions, regrets, and judgments.

As a student of Karen Sullivan, one of best coaches out there, I learned the importance of pausing the internal movie that plays in my head and challenging my excuses so I can Get S*#% Done (GSD). 

Are you ready for a new script and some GSD tips? Here are four that I use to get my executive coaching clients started:

1.     Get Real about what's really behind your excuses. What are you afraid of or worried about? Is it a fear of failure, success, or not being respect/accepted/liked? How dissatisfied are you with the movie that’s running in your head? 

2.     Visualize what could happen if you let your excuses go. What if you ignored them and took action? What gets you excited about your new movie? 

3.     Plan your first steps by seeking the counsel of others, replicating actions steps from past wins, and playing to your strengths.

4.     Check your math with Kathie Dannemiller's change formula: Dissatisfaction (x) Vision (x) First Steps > Resistance (i.e., excuses). If your D x V x F isn’t greater than your R, then go back and adjust your movie, vision, and plan. 

He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else. – Benjamin Franklin

If you are ready to stop the excuses and get better results, contact me to produce a better movie. Let me know what excuses you love to hate, and share your excuse busting tips in the comments section below.