“Why haven’t you done it yet?” my friend asked politely. I had a choice. I could make all the excuses piling up in my head, or I could save us both time and say, “Doesn’t matter. How do I make it happen now?” Instead of wasting any breath on the reasons I haven’t, we spent the next 30 minutes talking about how to move forward and make it real.
We spend so much of our energy, thoughts, and time making excuses and looking in the rearview mirror. No more “but,” “I tried,” “what if,” “it’s their job,” “I’m too busy,” “I will,” etc. Did you know the Japanese language doesn’t have a future tense? How much more would we get done if we stopped talking about all the things we want to do, all the reasons we haven’t yet, and actually just did them? The more excuses we make, the less things change, and the less we grow.
In one of my first reviews as a new leader, a peer anonymously wrote that I was an aggressive b****. Those who know me agree that I am aggressive and I wear that badge with pride! The b-word stung a little. I was offended and could’ve spent time defending myself and blaming the other person for their words, but instead I asked my leader to help me work on my approach so that over the next 365 days that person would not have the same perception. No matter what the intentions in my heart, the fact was that someone saw it differently.
Their perception was my reality. Instead of making excuses, I intended to fix it. I had a right to be myself, but I had a duty to be respectful. Rights and duties require balance. We often use “our rights” as an excuse to take the easy road, put the issue on someone else, or sit around and wait for someone else to fix the problem. We forget that we have a duty that pairs with every right.
In my current work environment we are in the midst of great change. We’ve had several organizations come together through mergers and acquisitions, we have different solution lines trying to work together and understand each other, we have new leadership and a new organizational structure…you get the picture. All this change has created unclarity and unrest. We can choose to focus on all the challenges, become complainers, and wait around for the leadership team to make things right, or we can individually take Extreme Ownership for the changes that need to be made, keep a positive attitude, and remind each other of the exciting vision we are working to create.
Waiting for someone else to create change in your life will leave you waiting on the sideline of the whole thing. How sad would that be? You can start and make change today. Just find One Thing: “What’s the One Thing you can do that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?”
No one can do it for you. No one will do something because you told them to. If you really care, you have to make it happen. No room for excuses. They delay action and prevent issues from actually getting resolved. Take responsibility and hold yourself accountable.
Accountability is not a way of doing, it’s a way of thinking. It demands discipline. It requires you to look in the mirror and realize that success and failure depend on you. You can’t just throw out ideas and expect things to change. You have to be there close to it, inch by inch and mile by mile to see it all the way through. The next time you find yourself complaining or wondering why things haven’t changed, remember…