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In the book “The OZ Principle” they have an image that shows this invisible line in the world and where some of us live above that line and the rest live below that line. Above the line is the people that take ownership, action, responsibility and learn and grow. Below the line is the people that live in blame, denial and excuses. Making excuses is a natural human response – we are social animals, and we care what others think about us and we want to fit in. Rather than face uncomfortable conversations and feelings, we make excuses and avoid responsibility. People who make excuses may feel happy in the moment, because they’ve avoided a bit of pain. In the long-term however they will be less fulfilled and can feel anxious or depressed. So why do people make excuses? And how can you stop making excuses and start going after your dreams instead? Making excuses can almost always be traced back to one of three reasons: fear, uncertainty or lack of purpose. To stop making excuses, first determine which one(s) applies to you.
Making excuses can almost always be traced back to one emotion: fear. Fear can come in many forms. Perhaps you make excuses about going after your dreams as a REALTOR© because you’re afraid of failure. You may make excuses about your weight or your health because of self-doubt and lack of confidence. Some may be surprised by this but many people are afraid of success... in this case they feel they aren't good enough or deserve success. It isn’t easy to stop making excuses and face your fears – but it can be done.
As human beings we all have Six Human Needs that drive our decisions. One of our most powerful needs is certainty: we are driven to avoid pain and seek out things we know will bring us pleasure. That’s why it’s so tempting to stay in your comfort zone or pick up bad habits. When we face a situation we’re not certain about, our brains prefer making excuses over dealing with uncertainty. But you can override these natural impulses and stop making excuses.
People who make excuses also often come across as lazy, uninspired and apathetic. Yet it’s more likely they haven’t yet discovered their purpose. As Tony says, “People are not lazy. They simply have goals that do not inspire them.” Focus on finding your passion and living a life of meaning, and you’ll naturally stop making excuses.
Making excuses is normal from time to time – we’re all human after all. But if it’s starting to interfere with your life and prevent you from reaching your goals, it’s time to learn how to stop making excuses.
1. TAKE RESPONSIBILITY - The first step to stop making excuses is always to realize you alone control your destiny. As Tony puts it, “The past does not equal the future unless you live there.” No matter what has happened to you in the past, your future is up to you.
2. SHIFT YOUR PERSPECTIVE - When you take responsibility, you begin to see problems are opportunities, not obstacles. Life is happening for you, not to you. Everything that has happened in your life brought you to this moment – and you can either transform your life or keep making excuses.
3. UNCOVER YOUR LIMITING BELIEFS - People who make excuses likely have certain limiting beliefs that are holding them back. These are the stories we tell ourselves about who we are. If you believe deep down you’re not deserving of success or you don’t have the inner strength to overcome failure, you’ll continue making excuses to avoid going after what you really want.
4. CHANGE YOUR STORY - Once you’ve identified your limiting beliefs, you can change your story and stop making excuses for good. Do this by identifying negative self-talk and replacing any limiting beliefs with empowering ones. When you change your words – and your story – you change your life.
5. FIND THE LESSON - People who make excuses don’t bother to look closely at their mistakes and determine what went wrong. They blame others and never learn the valuable lessons failure can provide. Successful people always look for the lesson and apply it to future decisions.
6. STOP OVERTHINKING - The path to success is to take massive, determined action. The ability to make tough decisions is a top trait of great leaders and an essential skill for everyday life, but many people who make excuses suffer from “analysis paralysis.” To stop making excuses, you must stop overthinking, let go of the past and take massive action.
7. DEFINE YOUR VISION - Do you jump out of bed each day with excitement and vitality? If you’re wondering how to stop making excuses, the answer is likely “no.” So how can you start? Go back to the drawing board and examine your blueprint for your life. What do you really want? Create a powerful vision you’ll be proud to follow, and you’ll never make an excuse again.
8. SET GOALS - Discovering your purpose is valuable, but setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible. Working toward actionable goals force you to stop making excuses and start creating a compelling future. Start small and set achievable SMART goals. As you build confidence, set bigger and bigger goals.
9. GET SUPPORT - The key to stop making excuses is to hold yourself accountable for your actions – but this isn’t always easy. Get support from a trusted friend or your significant other. Better yet, find a mentor, join a mastermind group or connect with a coach. They’ll have the experience and training needed to keep you accountable and productive.
Strength and courage,