It was about 6 years ago, and at that time I was the Director of People and Performance for a project management firm. In one of our Executive Team workshops, we each had to present a topic. The topic I received? Accountability.
As I was researching the topic, I came across an article. This article had one line that has changed so much of how I approach life.
‘IF IT’S IMPORTANT YOU’LL FIND A WAY, IF NOT YOU’LL FIND AN EXCUSE.’
Now that might seem a bit harsh, saying that you’ll create an excuse for anything that is not important. But it was the bluntness of that line that gave me a slap in the face. I realised how much I had been fooling myself with different things.
“Oh I’m too busy, I can’t go to the gym”. Does that sound familiar to you? This is what I would say to myself too. Then I keep thinking “if it’s important you’ll find a way, if not you’ll find an excuse”. I was using work as an excuse because I didn’t value the gym as much.
What it made me look at was “what am I valuing more in this moment?” “Where do my priorities lie?” And instead of making excuses for it, OWN IT. That became a huge shift for me, owning my inner monologue and thoughts. Instead of coming up with an excuse, simply owning it!
This is the impact it’s had for me (which has taken some time to roll out) – I will never give an excuse that’s made up to make myself feel better. The first thing I do when I notice I can’t do something is get clear. What is my priority here? Why am a looking for an excuse?
This saying can be a really effective line to help you realise – are you kidding yourself? Are you lying to yourself? And where are your priorities right now? And if your priority is work, that’s ok – own it.
If you want to change something, the first thing you have to do is notice that you’re doing it! Then you can change your behaviour.
Where might you be making excuses?