This post is part rant and part reality check. We live in a culture where, more than I can ever remember, excuses are tolerated. Excuses themselves are not new. Humans have been rationalizing their behavior and their performance (or lack thereof) with excuses since the beginning of time. I think it started with Adam: “The woman you put here with me – she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” So, score one for the ladies; it was a man who made the first excuse. And then making excuses went viral…for all time.
There are a couple of different levels of excuses, in my opinion. The first is when a person says they will do something/accomplish something but there is no commitment as to “when”. For example, “I’ll send you that information.” Or, “I’ll call you back.” The second is when there is a commitment attached… “I’ll have you an answer tomorrow.” Or, “I’ll review the contract and give you a redline by the 15th.”
Fast forward to the point when it’s clear the other party is missing the mark. We call them; we email them…we follow up. Here comes the excuse. “I’ve been really busy.” “I know I owe you that.” “I was out Friday on PTO.” “I was traveling last week.”
Here’s my view. People don’t CARE about our excuses. My clients don’t CARE about my excuses. The details and challenges of my daily live are of no concern to them. I am responsible to deliver results. Period. It’s on me to navigate my business and my life so that it doesn’t interfere. Yet, the world-at-large seems to think that as long as they have an excuse, that’s good enough. I should accept said excuse and whatever fallout that creates for me.
The great American Philosopher Diddy said it best: “Nobody cares. Work harder.” God didn’t accept Adam’s excuse either…or Eve’s (which immediately followed Adam’s, by the way.) Proceed at your own risk, but excuses are for losers.