People never cease to amaze me…
Sitting across from clients day in and day out, one gets a unique perspective on the human psyche.
While it’s true that I did study psychology back in my college days, it wasn’t until I got into personal development that I truly began to understand just what makes us tick.
I have helped doctors, judges, teachers, businessmen and women, parents, and even students achieve success in a variety of forms. Starting out I was purely an English teacher, but over the years as I studied and learnt, I began to apply my knowledge of success, marketing, finance and time management to all of my businesses. Today, teaching English is more of a hobby for me, while achievement and success drive me.
In studying the secrets of success I came across a set of rather interesting discoveries which I’ll share with you over time.
Today though I’d like to talk about one in particular, which is our ability to create excuses.
To illustrate what I mean I thought I’d make this post a little more personal than usual.
As you can tell from the title, “mommy” and “wine” aren’t two words we associate with success secrets, but I assure you they are related.
Let me start off by saying, I dearly love my wife. She’s a wonderful mother, a caring wife, an excellent cook, not to mention talkative, confident, beautiful, funny and hard working, but like all of us, she has a weakness. A kryptonite of sorts, which in my wife’s case is wine.
To be fair, ever since she got promoted two years ago, she’s been busier than ever and thanks to the economic situation being what it is, to say she’s been somewhat stressed would be an understatement. One or two glasses of wine helps her relax after a hard day at work.
But there’s a catch. Wine has a lot of calories and as such she’s gained a little weight.
So to prevent herself drinking too much, she created a “no wine” rule on weekdays.
We all have our weaknesses so it makes sense to establish rules to keep us in check.
For me, it used to be video games. Some of them are so much fun that without noticing it a few hours would vanish in the blink of an eye. That’s no good…not when you’re trying to build three businesses and create a brand so I limited myself to 30 minutes a day, then 20, then 10 and soon the habit had been broken.
Not everyone has as much luck.
You see, each of us has things we know we should be doing; studying, work, exercising, preparation, writing, reading, thinking…something. But since we spend eight hours a day working, when we punch out, the last thing we want to do after work is more work. We all just want to kick back and relax for a few hours.
Short-term that’s ok, because we feel better. Long-term, we pay the price because we struggle to get out of the rut we are in.
Let’s go back to my wife’s case. Within two weeks of the “no wine” rule being implemented, I noticed a wine glass on the table on a Wednesday night. Her response, “It was a hard day, you have no idea.”
About a week later, I saw no wine glass, but could tell she had been drinking because her face was red and her eyes somewhat bloodshot. “What happened to ‘no wine on weekdays?'” I asked. This time it was, “My friend gave it to me so it would be rude not to let her know what I thought about it.”
You have to hand it to her, it was creative.
I’m sure you can see where I’m going with this…each time she was extra stressed, a new excuse appeared. We had a good laugh last night going over some the excuses she had come up with:
- Wine in the fridge exception
- Wine after a hard day exception
- I was given it exception
- I need to forget exception
- It’s the only thing good in my life exception
- I can’t go shopping exception
- I’m not getting any younger exception
What is interesting is she never used the same excuse twice. And this is what we ALL do, in one form or another. Even if there is no good reason for us to do what we know we shouldn’t be doing, we create one. It gives us a “get out of jail free” card (remember those?).
I use them when I haven’t done work around the house, finished a blog post or read a book I should have.
We’re all guilty of this to some extent.
So why is this a success secret?
Because high performance people don’t let excuses get in their way of doing what they need to do. And so does my wife.
Even if it’s hard, time consuming, or stressful…they simply find a way to get things done.
Sometimes that means doing it ourselves, other times it means delegating the task or hiring someone to do it for you.The point is it gets done.
I once heard that Billy Joel sat in front of his piano and played for 30 minutes a day whether he wanted to or not. It didn’t make a difference if he came up with anything good or not, it was the habit that was invaluable. Dan Kennedy, a highly paid marketer, says he writes for two hours starting at 5am each and every day. The result, a ton of materials that has made him a multi-millionaire many times over.Tony Robbins, Bill Gates, Brendon Burchard, Jeff Bezos, and Mark Zuckerberg are all people that have figured out this secret to success.
They don’t let themselves off the hook. They set goals, then work towards them methodically, no excuses.
There’s a reason not more people are successful, they allow exceptions and excuses to become the norm.
You wouldn’t believe all the excuses I’ve heard from clients, friends and students over the years. It used to bother me, but now it just makes me laugh.
But in order to help my clients achieve their goals, one thing I have implemented as of late is the “no excuses” clause.
Simply admitting the truth is the first step in overcoming our bad habit of not doing what needs to be done.
Try it and you might be surprised just how liberating it is.