I haven’t been sleeping well lately.

And, when I don’t sleep well, I lie in bed and think.

I think of words.  Phrases.  Affirmations.  Inspirational quotes.  Verbiage I can use when I am asked to give unvarnished career advice to business people who are struggling.

So, allow me to share some of what has been coming to me in these late-night, stream-of-consciousness sessions.

There are two types of people in the world:

  1. People who find ways to do great things; and
  2. People who find excuses not to

If I asked someone seeking my career advice what great things they are doing or have done, I’m probably more likely than not to get a mouthful of excuses why there are no great accomplishments to discuss:  “I’m too old,” “I don’t have an MBA,” “I work for a small company,” etc.

Now, if I called out the advice seeker and criticized him/her for making excuses, s/he might argue that these are not excuses, they are reasons.

But anytime someone gives me a ton of supposed reasons why they aren’t doing something, it’s clear that they are actually excuses.  When you have to dig for multiple explanations of why one thing isn’t being done, those explanations are almost by definition excuses and not reasons.

Another way of determining that something is an excuse is whether or not that same factor stopped everyone else from ever accomplishing something.

For example, if – at age 50 – you say that you’re too old to do something big, I’d encourage you to compare yourself to someone who has accomplished something great at your same age or older.  Or if your excuse is that you don’t have an MBA, I’d encourage you to compare yourself to others who did something great without an MBA.

As a dad, one of my favorite phrases to use on my kids is “That sounds like a solvable problem.”  I’d use this if something like “I work for a small company” was someone’s excuse.

Sounds like a solvable problem.  Want to work for a big company?  Have you applied to a big company?  No?  Well, get started and don’t let that solvable problem forever stop you from achieving your potential!

Are you achieving as much as you’d like to achieve?

If not, examine yourself and your situation.  Instead of relying on me to identify whether or not you are making excuses, be brutally honest with yourself to determine if you are.

And, if you’re making excuses, admit it.  Admitting a problem is the first step in solving it.

Then, your second step is to stop trying to find excuses and start trying to find ways to make amazing things happen.  Successful people do just that.  You can, too!

Now, if I could only be successful at getting a good night sleep tonight…

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