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Ownership is Everything

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It’s human nature to make excuses when things don’t go our way. No one wants to accept responsibility for failings in relationships, health or finances so we make excuses to save face and escape embarrassment. But the long-term effect of making excuses for our shortcomings is very negative – not only does it lower our expectations for ourselves, it also justifies low performance. After all, if we already have a built-in excuse to fail, why should we push ourselves or ever try anything new? Here are some of the most common excuses we make:

It’s not my fault!

When something goes wrong, it’s very easy to pass the blame. You get out of a sticky situation by telling yourself and others that the circumstances were the problem or that it was someone else’s mistake. As Henry Cloud once said, however, “Blame is a sort of comfort food for the soul; it diverts us from the effort of owning responsibility.” Instead of passing the buck when things go sideways, it’s always much better to simply admit that you made a mistake, vow never to repeat it and then move forward.

The smokescreen

When you’re experiencing difficulty – whether that’s in your relationships, your business or your health – it’s pretty easy to find an excuse that fits. One common way people often try to excuse shortcomings is by putting up a smokescreen. The aim of a smokescreen is to obscure, confuse or mislead others. The reality is, however, that when you don’t accept ownership of where you are and why, you only end up misleading yourself. As Jim Rohn used to say, “If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.”

The explanation

Great salespeople are usually great storytellers – and the stories they tell themselves can be the best of all! Whether it’s politics, the market or some other issue, explaining away your failings with excuses means you never get to achieve the results you want. Instead of living in the story you tell yourself and others, you need to get to work. Abandon your excuses, take ownership and truly embrace where you are and why.

Do you make excuses when things don’t go your way, or do you take ownership instead? If you want to succeed, you must ditch the excuses and take responsibility for your life. When you wean yourself off your excuses and focus on your performance, you’ll be on track to live the good life. To learn more, listen to the latest episode of “It’s a Good Life”.

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