The problem with excuses – or ‘reasons why not’ – is that they prevent us from taking exactly the action that would be needed to achieve the results.
Think about some aspect of your business that you would like to have better results with. It could be having more customers or more leads or more profit for example. First of all, what exactly is the result you want and when? Lack of specific goals is the first barrier – you have to have or invent a specific goal before you can find a solution for it. “More profit” sounds like a goal, but it isn’t, it’s just a vague wish. A goal would be a specific number by a specific date. Ideally such a goal would be one that you’d be happy with, not one you’d settle for.
Once you have the specific goal clear, think of the excuses you have for why it isn’t possible or why it isn’t happening and write them down. Write at least 10. You’ll probably find it hard to get past three or four, but keep going.
Now for each one, write down three or more reasons why it’s not actually true, and what you could do to counteract it. For example you might have as excuse that there’s an economic downturn and customers aren’t buying. So in response to that you could ask yourself why that’s not true and what you can do to counteract it? Actually are there some customers buying, but just not as many or not from you? What are they buying and from whom? What could you do to get more of them buying and from you?
The whole point is to challenge the excuses. There is always something you can do – usually lots of things – but you only really start to see them when you challenge the limiting beliefs and ask instead “what could we do?”.
If you still find you’re stuck, or if you’re so fixed in believing your own excuses, you need to enlist the help of an unreasonable person who won’t accept your excuses. We all know someone like that, any kind of Coach makes it their focus to ask challenging and unreasonable things of people.
As you go through the process it’s OK to identify further excuses why something won’t work or isn’t possible – but then you have to work on those new ones too – “What could we do to counteract it?”.
Once you’ve made some progress and have some ideas of what you could do, write them down as a series of potential actions. You’ve then got the beginnings of a plan. Then go through each action and ask “if we do this, is it likely to achieve the result we want?”. You then either change it so that the answer becomes yes, or dump it and move on to the next. The aim is to have enough actions that you can step back and honestly say that taking all those actions is likely to achieve the specific goal. Keep challenging the barriers until you have that.
When you create this attitude as your normal way of being, and create it as a culture in your business, you’ll find that you can overcome any hurdle. Don’t accept excuses.