I recently had to do a talk on excuses at a local network group (I didn’t get on the 5-45 from Paddington!) and I started it something like this;
Good morning my name is Ash and I’m a psychopath….. Sorry, I meant psychologist. I think that is what is called in the trade as a Freudian slip!
I was at an ABC Network meeting last year, it was 6-45am and I was standing in the venue at the refreshment stand giving a second squeeze to my teabag, as you do for the first cup of the day. This lady came up to me and said “You’re that psychologist that has written a book!” Now, it was still early and I was trying to process what she was saying and I wasn’t sure if she had asked a question or made a statement.
I was just about to answer when she continued with “I read a book that said Psychologists were one step away from being psychopaths!” And with that she marched off up the other end of the room muttering “You’re not bloody well analysing me!”
Now that throws up a couple of questions for me; firstly, who actually was the psychopath in this situation? Secondly, why would I try and analyse anyone unless they were paying me to do so?
On a serious note one of the things I do is study behaviour and language patterns, especially those of small business owners. It is these behaviour and language patterns that form their habits and it’s the habits that they perform on a daily basis that gives them the results that they get.
So when I see a particular behaviour I know whether that person is likely to have a successful business or not. I also listen to the words they use and the excuses that they make, as these also become habits.
One thing is for sure, if you want something badly enough you will find a way, if you don’t you will find an excuse!
Let me give you an example…
Imagine a lovely row of semi-detached houses in a suburban road, you look into the back gardens and you can see a beautiful green lawn being cut by the house owner. He has a shiny new lawnmower going up and down in perfectly straight lines.
Standing watching him is his neighbour and his lawn is a bit of a mess. Overgrown grass, potholes where the dog has been burying his bones and all other types of debris and he says to his neighbour with the lawn mower “Morning neighbour, can I borrow your mower please?” His neighbour replies “I’d love to lend you my mower but the 5-45 from Paddington is due in so I can’t!” His neighbour looks at him somewhat confused and says “Ok, I’m not interested in the train I just want to borrow your mower!” And the reply was just the same that the 5-45 from Paddington was due in.
By now the neighbour is frustrated and confused and says one more time “I just want to borrow your mower please?” When the guy with the mower says “Look the 5-45 from Paddington is due so I really can’t lend you my mower!”
The moral of the story is; if you don’t want do something one excuse is the same as any other!
We all make loads of excuses every day and some of them can be very damaging to our business and our lives. In particular the worse kinds of excuse are the ones we make to ourselves.
There are 2 main areas where those excuses come from;
- The past.
- The future.
I get lots of clients come to me and say the reason they can’t do something is because when they were young their dad did this or their mum did that or my brother said this.
I say to these people you send your Dad, Mum or Brother to see me, I’ll fix them and you will be alright then? And of course they say don’t be silly.
It is their belief of the past event that stops them taking action today and this is how it works;
Your current feelings, your personality traits and your current behaviour were shaped by the past events that you have been through?
The experiences that you have been through when you were a little child are dramatically impacting your life right now even the ones that might seem irrelevant or insignificant?
Your past is currently affecting your present and it will keep affecting your present and your future until you become aware of the connection.
Early childhood memories are the source from which children start to form their beliefs about the world. If for example a child believed that his parents are giving more attention to his little sister then he might develop the belief that his parents don’t love him the way they love his little sister.
But how can this past event affect the life of that child later on? Simply that child might always believe that someone else will be preferred over him wherever he goes!
When that child grows up and gets married he might start to believe that his wife is cheating on him whenever she smiles at other men. In such a case the old belief that was developed at the past impacted the way the man sees life!
This was just a simple example demonstrating how a single past event can affect the person’s present life greatly.
Now, how many similar past events have contributed to your current beliefs? Can you imagine the impact the hundreds of events you have been through, when you were a child, can have on your life right now?
So how can you prevent your past from impacting your present?
The first step you need to take is to become aware of any childhood experiences that affected you the most and realise that you can change it, after all it is just an excuse.
What is in the past is exactly that, it’s in the past and it can only affect your present or future if you choose to let it. You can make that excuse about your dad, mum, sister or brother telling you that you’re not good enough or you can choose to take action and become good enough!
It’s just an excuse, so the next time you are about to make and excuse, look at yourself in the mirror, look straight into your eyes and notice how you burst out laughing.
Remember, if you want it bad enough you’ll find a way, if you don’t you’ll find an EXCUSE!
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