No Excuses. Break Through & Come Up with the Results

I’m reading “Poke the Box” by Seth Godin. I like reading Godin because it’s inspirational and motivating. He definitely subscribes to the “no excuse” mentality.

I’ve got a huge pet peeve and it’s that I can’t stand people that make excuses. A “No Excuse Attitude” to me means — when you are committed to something you do not make excuses. You figure out how to break through and come up with the results. I look at super achievers and they don’t make excuses, they just figure out ways to make it happen.

Here’s some of the excuses that I hear:

  • I’ve never done it before.
  • I don’t have time.
  • We don’t have enough resources.

I’ve never done it before

In the past I’ve written about Nicole Donnelly, an entrepreneur who started Baby Legs. The blog post I wrote about was titled “Fearless Entrepreneur: Nicole Donnelly Overcomes Obstacles in Business and Life“.  The reason I mention Nicole is because every time I talk with her she’s telling me about how she got through some barrier and overcame some problem. With that kind of attitude, there’s a reason why she was able to take Baby Legs from a business running out of her apartment to selling her Baby Legs in 40+ countries in less than three years. At the time she was doing this, she had not gone through the Entrepreneurial Masters Program at MIT which she’s currently in her final year. She doesn’t have 10 years of training in launching an international business. What she does have is a insatiable thirst to learn. So the next time someone says to you I’ve never done it before, you have to ask what are you doing to try and learn? The other thing that I know that has helped Nicole is surrounding herself with successful entrepreneurs. She’s a part of the Entrepreneur Organization and she’s always seeking out entrepreneurs that are successful in areas that she may not have as strong a base. She finds people to help mentor her and champion her. People are rooting for her to be successful.

I don’t have time

You make time for what’s important. You make time to learn. You make time to build relationships and find mentors. Yes, there’s a finite amount of time in a day, but, time is still just an excuse. I like what Godin says in Poke the Box.

“Make your schedule before you start. Don’t allow setbacks or blocks or anxiety to push you to say, “hey maybe I should check my email for a while… ” If you do that lizard brain will soon be trained to use that escape hatch again and again.”

“Art is hard. Selling is hard. Writing is hard. Making  a difference is hard. When you’re working hard, getting rejected, failing, working it out — this is a dumb time to make a situational decision about whether it’s time for a nap or a day off or a coffee break.”

We don’t have enough resources

How many times have you heard “If I just had more money to run this business then I would be successful… be able to make more money… be able to launch this product… get more customers?”  I know we’ve all heard it, maybe we’ve even said it. The thing that I keep seeing from my entrepreneur friends is that they find ways to get it done. They don’t have the ability to hire a bunch of Ivy League MBA’s to figure out how to get things done or hire a bunch of expensive consultants to build the road map or execute a marketing plan. What they do, is create opportunity. There’s a lot of really smart people out there right now that don’t have the work experience, perhaps they just graduated from college, or they were laid off in the middle of the recession.  These people are dying to get experience. They are want to work on something meaningful. They want to contribute. They want to build their resume up with experiences that will help them get a better job. I’ve seen my entrepreneur friends hire five college student’s who would gladly receive college credit and a stipend in exchange for practical work experience. I’ve seen others hire three work study students and get them to take on various tasks so they could get work and tasks done. I’ve also seen others use ODesk, eLance, Mechanical Turk to get mundane but important tasks done so they can either work less or get other more meaningful work done. One example that we did was hire someone from ODesk to provide us a list of 400 prospects that are specific to our target market. Generating that list took the person four hours and cost us about $25.  It allowed my team to focus on more important work but get that task done. Either way it’s not about needing more money versus using the resources that you have more wisely.

To close, here’s another quote from Godin:

“Poke the box. See what works. Be an instigator. Be unconventional. Challenge the status quo. Stir the pot. Stop collecting good ideas and start implementing them.”

Do you have any other suggestions on how to deal with excuses? I’d love to hear you share some of the things that you’ve done to overcome these kinds of excuses.


4 replies
  1. Mike Jensen
    Mike Jensen says:

    Great Post Peter. When it comes down to it, I think attitude is critical to overcoming these excuses. We all face these types of things and in the end you need to have the determination to just get through it. I am also a big fan of “no surpises” – things will happen, but the key is clear and timely communication so you (and the team) can rally to achieve your results. Dont sit back quietly and then bring these up when it is too late. See the challenge, communicate, plan and take action.

    • Peter Chee
      Peter Chee says:

      Thanks for the comment Mike. Totally true about the communication. Seems like that is an area that can break down quickly.

      For me, it seems like I put walls up that are not really there… like I’m unable to see an option as a possibility because I make the wrong assumptions and am not open minded to see that I could actually achieve or do something.

  2. Dan Larkin
    Dan Larkin says:

    Timely post Peter. I pride myself on being a “no excuses” guy myself, but last night & this morning I had an obstacle that was driving me nuts. As I moaned about not having control of the situation, I heard my thoughts echoing and realized that was no excuse. In this case I’m managing other aspects of the situation to stay results focused, but the more general lesson here is: listen to yourself as critically as listen to others. You know an excuse when you hear one. Listen for them in your own thoughts.

    • Peter Chee
      Peter Chee says:

      Dan, thanks for the comment. I’m definitely a firm believer in staying focused on the results… and I’m sure there would be a few people that would say I’m it’s to a fault. I like what you say about listening to yourself as critically as you listen to others. Definitely need to hold yourself to same or higher set of standards. Best of luck with the challenge that you’re facing right now and let me know if you want another set of ears to bounce something off of.


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