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Economic Development is . . . (increasing the flow) of capital through the community and reducing its leakage.

No Excuse

Jim’s car is swerving all over the road so a cop pulls him over, “Step out of the car” says the cop, “I am going to need you to take a breathalyzer test.” “I can’t”, Jim responds. “You see I have very bad asthma that can set off an attack.”

“Alright,” says the cop, “then you’re going to have to take a blood test.” “Can’t do that either,” Jim responds, “I am a hemophiliac, if a wound is opened, I won’t stop bleeding, and I could bleed to death.”

“Ok,” the cop answers “then I will need a urine sample.” “Sorry,” says Jim “I also have diabetes, that could push my sugar count really low.”

“Fine, so just come on out, and walk a straight line for me.” “Can’t do that either” responds Jim. “Why not?” Demanded the exasperated cop. “Well, because I’m drunk!”

It was Benjamin Franklin that said – “He that is good for making excuses is seldom good at anything else.”

Both in our personal lives and in business, excuses are major obstacles to success. Excuses sap our energy, and can lead to misunderstandings that confuse communication, and eventually will damage credibility. Looking at the reason why people make excuses directly collates to how they react in overcoming adversity. Life is going to throw each of us our own share of curveballs and all of us will fail somewhere along the way.

Growing up I participated in sports, and all three of my kids have as well. I have found no better training for the adult life than through sports. It intensifies those feelings and stresses into moments of both tremendous joy and terrible heartbreak. Think about it – how people deal with failure is a skill everyone needs to master. And like most things, the younger we learn skills, the more likely we will come to master them. After the strike out, the errant throw and the dropped fly ball this is perfect time to learn— kids that learn early that excuses and frustration typically only result in more failure are miles ahead of people who learn these lessons later in life.

I realize some coaches today do not understand this character development aspect of sports (they are caught up in the wins and losses and ego). They haven’t learned that screaming and cajoling a kid will only produce more fear, instead of motivation. This is an indignity, as they are missing out on the best part of sports.

The best coaches I had always stressed to me a “no excuse” policy. And always found one area that encouraged me to dust off, and try again. We were told – win or lose, WE will find a way through these challenges and turn them into growth.

You might be saying– Heath I’m a little too old to start Little League, what do I do?  Whenever an employee (or your child) comes to you with an excuse, don’t just wave it off and hope that it doesn’t happen again. Dig in, ask the tough questions, and show your employees (or child) that you’re serious about their success. Over time, you’ll convey that you won’t settle for anything less than the best—and your employees (or child) will realize that there’s no room for excuses.


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