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When you were a kid, you probably remember some other kid telling the teacher, “[T]he dog ate my homework!’ The kid’s excuse was the reason s/he gave for not having the homework done, or at least not having it to turn in. The “excuse” was offered in the hope of being exempted from responsibility for the commitment, in this case, arriving with completed homework. The kid was not taking responsibility.
A friend produces an e-newsletter every week, for a large group. Between list maintenance and editing the event submittals every week, she spends an average of a half day a week on the e-newsletter. She finishes the newsletter event section each week, when a particular entertainment event submittal comes in. That event depends on newspaper event listings, which come out early a particular day each week. Recently, my friend received an email request, just as she was finishing sending the week’s e-newsletter. The requester wanted her to send out an event announcement for a couple of days forward. My friend e-replied that she had needed the event information by the night before, or at the latest, by 9 am that morning. She said, the e-newsletter has already gone out for the week. The Editor highlighted the section of the e-newsletter that gave the deadline. The requester wrote again, asking if the Editor couldn’t make an exception just this one time; the Requester said she had been waiting for the entertainment listing to be determined, so she would not create a conflict with the entertainment event for the same date. The Editor had received the entertainment event information 5 hours before the late request. She chose not to waste her time and energy replying again.
The Editor was curious as to what the late requester was doing during the 5 hours between the time the entertainment event details were emailed to her and the time the requester emailed the Editor. And why did the requester not dial the phone and ask the Editor to “hold the presses”? The Editor’s phone number is conveniently listed in every week’s e-newsletter, as well as in the print newsletter, and on the group’s websites. If you think the late requester could have been more effective, then you understand that “waiting for the entertainment event details” was simply an excuse.
If you love making excuses, rather than taking responsibility for making things go the way you want, then you will love this website: http://madtbone.tripod.com/, or, “The Mother of All Excuses Place”. The site was inspired by a wealth of excuses people in a particular workplace offered, for not coming to work for the day. The collection was so entertaining that it expanded to include sections for: missing school and homework excuses, police or accident excuses, kids excuses, getting out of family events and holiday functions, breaking dates, doctor excuses, doctors note, missing church, wedding, diet excuses, why I ate that, debt excuses, tax excuses, not paying the rent, getting out of home repair excuses, unwanted house guest excuses, jury duty, defense excuses, not voting, no sex, miscellaneous excuses, excuses for becoming addicted to online slots, excuse related humor, and more.
Professional coach and speaker Karen Gridley is known as The Excuse Removal ExpertTM . Gridley takes a kind, yet no-nonsense approach to excuse-making. She wants you to take responsibility and see life as what you are creating. She says excuse makers collect excuses and talk a lot about how their outcomes are out of their control. Whereas, she says, recovering excuse makers continue to examine how their own thoughts, beliefs, and actions (or non-actions) actually created their outcomes. Gridley says those who give up making excuses experience freedom and empowerment.
Is there something that didn’t come out the way you would have liked? What was your role in creating that situation? Ask Karen Gridley and she’ll tell you to take responsibility, in order to reap the rewards. Why? Because, after all, it’s your life.
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