Everyone has different ideas of what success is. Your own singular definition and your own carved out idea of how you’ll get there. Maybe you already think you’re successful. You probably are. But very rarely do we look back on what we’ve done with pride and instead only look at what we have left to do with trepidation.
Success could mean money, a family, a feeling of fulfilment. It’s subjective. And while many of us are successful in our own right, not many of us would freely admit it. It should be something said about you not from you. It should be in your air, your demeanour, not by the noughts in your bank account and the words coming out of your mouth.
So, if we’re not feeling successful and not admitting to being successful then there must be a reason for this. I decided to do a little experiment and accosted dear friends, family and acquaintances to tell me what their excuse for not being successful was.
I asked everyone two questions:
- Do you want to be successful?
- What’s your excuse for not being successful?
I didn’t ask them first whether they thought they were successful or not, or what their idea of success was. Everyone I asked was a millennial, none have kids, some have a mortgage, some live with parents. All have different backgrounds, jobs and dreams.
The answer to the first was a unanimous yes and only one person said they thought they were successful, but still gave excuses as to why they weren’t more so. The answers to the second were as follows:
“I’m too lazy”
“Not knowing what my dream job is, because I have multiple dreams”
“I’m afraid of responsibility”
“I’m not good at managing relationships”
“I am not like my boss”
“I’m scared of failure”
“I don’t have enough experience”
“There’s not enough opportunities where I live”
“The market is too saturated”
“It’s too expensive to start my own business”
“I constantly think I’m not good enough”
“I’ve got into a routine of saying no”
“I doubt myself too much, I wouldn’t be able to handle it”
“Success means being a manager. I’m scared of being a manager”
“My company isn’t doing their part to ensure my success”
“Not having the confidence to believe I should be climbing instead of moving side to side”
“I feel trapped in my career but it would be too difficult to move now”
“My name is too unoriginal”
“My parents didn’t push me enough to be successful”
“I don’t have the motivation”
“I haven’t met the right contacts”
“I’m not skinny or pretty enough”
“My work takes up too much time”
“I don’t know enough. I wait to be taught stuff from my experiences”
“My boss is more intelligent than me”
“There’s not enough time”
“There’s too much choice”
Do any of these sound familiar? I’m going to bet that they do.
Excuses are obstacles. They are defeat.
We use our self-doubt, our lack of confidence and polite need to be humble to steer away from what’s actually happening. And most of the time, Exhibit A above, they are just downright irrational.
We think success should come with bumps and set-backs, so we use excuses to build pedestals, when actually we’re just putting them there ourselves. 90% of the time the answer requires swallowing our apprehension and pulling our finger out. The other 10% is extraneous factors that are out of our control but, in the great scheme of things, shouldn’t hold us back from our idea of success.
At the risk of sounding cliched, hackneyed and whimsically flim-flam, the bottom line is:
You will always be your own excuse, but at least you know now where the solution lies.
So, with this in mind, let me ask you:
What’s your excuse for not being successful?