What's Your Excuse?

01 Sep 2015 8:00 AM | Anonymous

I spent some time today looking through blogs from some of my favorite writers. The blogs I follow are an eclectic mix that lean toward technology and management. Sure, I have a few knitting blogs that I read, as well as one that my friend - a California naturalist - posts to regularly, but most are related in some way to management. Go figure, right?

Today's message popped out for me while reading Johanna Rothman's blog, "Create an Adaptable Life." She writes about management consulting and coaching, as well as other interests in her life. Like many of us, she has encounters people and things that provide challenges to overcome. While reading her most recent post (26AUG2015), I came across this nugget that resonated with me.

"I make excuses for myself when I doubt my actions. I suspect other people do, too. For me, that's time to change my mind."

Hmm; yes, I can agree with this. What I can't always do is identify that I'm doing it, which is why Johanna's words struck a chord with me. I mean, some of us *raises her hand sheepishly* are veritable excuse-making machines. But it hadn't occurred to me WHY I'm making the excuses. She continues making her point, adding to my understanding:

"I often think about whether my actions are congruent with my values. I find I get angry (mostly with myself) when I’m not living according to my values. I suspect that when people feel they need to make excuses to me, they are not behaving in a way that is congruent with their values."

Wow. There's a lot of truth in those statements. I mean, no sooner is the excuse out of my mouth and I start to feel a bit off. It's almost like a lie, which, at its foundation, it is. You are lying to yourself when you aren't embracing and espousing your convictions. Why is the truth so hard, particularly to myself? Her next lines are where it really comes home for me.

"Doubts (or excuses) can be useful for us. They tell us when we are not being true to ourselves. We can listen to our doubts and select a different action. We can adapt. We can change our minds and then our actions."

How very empowering! By listening to yourself, you can actively address the situation and make the change(s) necessary to bring our ideas into alignment. In fact, I suspect that the more this exercise is performed, the better we can become at recognizing the excuses that others make toward us as well.

Not to drift too much from this topic, but I recently read Dr. Carol Dweck's book "Mindset: The New Psychology of Success." I have been thinking about how a change in mindset can affect a person, and that is likely how I was drawn to Johanna's ideas about truth and making excuses. It's pretty neat how those concepts come together at a few points to reinforce our abilities to see, make and appreciate change.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have more reading to tackle. In fact, you can join me, because the 2015 IAC schedule is up and ready for you to review. Just looking over the itinerary, I'm already looking forward to being in Indianapolis in October!
Image credit: http://www.gratisography.com/

Tricia Simo Kush is a certified Professional Engineering Manager with a background in Information Technology and a goal to take her career to a higher level through Engineering Management. She graduated from the MEM program at St. Cloud State University in 2010. To her, Engineering Management is a fascinating mix of technology and business, people and process. She is constantly seeing the ways that Engineering Management spans many industries and helps everyone to become effective leaders. Follow her on Twitter (@TSimoKush) or check out her profile on LinkedIn.


  • 27 Jun 2018 10:47 AM | Teresa Jurgens-Kowal (Administrator)
    Great post! I especially like that you characterize our intuition as "feeling a bit off" when we know we're not living according to values.

    Do you think managers that have strayed from ethics (like Enron) felt a bit off?

    And I'm glad that the blog inspired you to read Mindset.
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