When we don’t do something we intended to do, there is generally a “reason” or an “excuse.” What’s the difference? Which one do you use most frequently? Which one is standing in the way of you achieving your goals?
Reason: a basis or cause, as for some belief, action, fact, event, etc.
Excuse: to offer an apology for; seek to remove the blame of
The words that resonate with me in the Reason definition are basis, cause, and fact.
There is certainly any number of legitimate, fact-based reasons things happen or don’t. Unfortunately, however, excuses tend to come up when we seek to deflect personal responsibility.
Looking at the language below, what do you hear? Reason or excuse?
“I don’t work out very often because I have too much on my plate.” (But they probably have time to binge “Inventing Anna.”)
“I don’t work out very often because I have an underlying health condition that requires multiple recovery days.” (Basis, cause, fact.)
“I didn’t get the report done like you wanted because no one showed me how.” (Google? YouTube? There are so many resources available these days. Or go ask for help.)
“I didn’t get the report done like you wanted because the data requested doesn’t exist.”(Basis, cause, fact.)
“I didn’t make it to the meeting because I ran out of time.” (But they probably had time to grab coffee with a coworker.)
“I didn’t make it to the meeting because my daughter was sick.” (Basis, cause, fact.)
“I’m late for work because traffic was bad.” (Bad traffic is not a new phenomenon these days.)
“I’m late for work because the freeway was closed for over an hour.” (Basis, cause, fact.)
“I didn’t submit the project because I needed more time for research. (But I bet they had time to research the best noise-canceling headphones and the new iPhone.)
“I didn’t submit the project because it is in legal review.” (Basis, cause, fact.)
“I didn’t get the promotion because I’m too young.” (Really? Is it an age thing or an effort thing?)
“I didn’t get the promotion because my certifications were not strong enough.” (Basis, cause, fact.)
You get the drift.
Part of my job as a Coach is to help clients distinguish when they are using excuses, not reasons, for not making measurable progress toward their goals.
Do you see yourself in any of these scenarios? What are you relying on to explain what’s standing between you and your goals? Reasons or excuses?
Cindy Jobs, PCAC, ACC
Looking for more information?
For more helpful information, follow me on Facebook.