While on a trip this summer, I got a pass to a new gym. There, I was surprised to see an elderly woman with a portable oxygen tank working out with her trainer. I was impressed. Talk about ignoring excuses.
When we see action without the excuses we applaud it. People smile at three legged dogs enjoying their walks. We all admire the tremendous athletes that compete despite a disability. Who doesn’t love the stories about immigrants coming with no money, few connections, and marginal English skills who still are able to succeed as professionals and entrepreneurs.

Eliminating excuses is not just a noble act, it is a noble habit. High performers can continue to elevate their performance when they exercise that habit. Be careful poor excuses do not creep in.

  • Leaders might excuse their own behavior, like being “too busy” to mentor or bring new hires up to speed.
  • Leaders might excuse offering their own insight or guidance saying others must be more talented or more experienced.
  • Leaders might excuse the egregious behavior of others if they are a rainmaker for the company. You can see how that worked out for the Weinstein Company.
  • Leaders might make excuses based on conditions like “we cannot afford outside help.”
  • Leaders might excuse decisions where profit was put ahead of values (like Google’s since abandoned plan to develop a censored search engine for China).

Got a current excuse? What is it? Let’s give it up. Go back to objectives and remember what you truly want to achieve. Go back to values and let them guide tough decisions. Give up self-limiting beliefs and commit to grow as you contribute in new ways.

If an elderly woman on oxygen can continue to give up excuses, you can too.