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Why Everyone Should Look in the Mirror and Eliminate Excuses

by Mike KahoeSeptember 28, 2016 8:00 AM

Recently, I watched a documentary on Tony Robbins. Tony was telling his audience to write down all the things that were getting in the way from becoming the person they wanted to be and then talked about “looking in the mirror.” This talk made me think of my business and how we conduct exit interviews.

Whether it’s a voluntary resignation or termination, we always ask the employee to complete an exit interview. It’s a very simple interview asking the former employee about his or her experience working for Group Management Services. In many of the exit interviews the employee talks about enjoying their time here, but their circumstances changed: they received a better offer, had a baby, a spouse is getting transferred, etc. Many have offered useful suggestions that we have acted upon such as “the sales manual needs to be updated, not enough holidays are recognized, need to have a more flexible schedule,” to name but a few.

These recommendations have all helped GMS become a better company, but they are definitely not the fun ones. The comments I really look forward to are from failing Sales Reps. You see, we have a very thorough sales process. We know how many calls you have to make every day. We know how many people you have to see every week. We know how many people you have to propose to every month. We know who is cheating by looking at the numbers. Thus, their suggestions are the ones I love.

Image of a man looking in the mirror.

Looking in the Mirror

There is almost always a consistent tone to these exit interviews. Here are some examples:

  • “I really liked it in the beginning, but when I didn’t sell anything in the first six months my manager started to micro manage me.”
  • “The training was great in the beginning, but after the first six months, Tim hardly ever came here for additional training.”
  • “Other offices receive more visits and training.”
  • “I don’t feel like our office is as important or as part of the GMS family.”
  • “Don can do whatever he wants. Debbie would call on him to spy on the rest of us, but he wasn’t ever on time.”

These are all real quotes from real exit interviews.  

You want more training? Try reading some books. Try Googling a topic. Try calling an expert.  These people have taken zero ownership of their careers. Somebody is getting treated differently? Guess what? It happens in life. Feel like a red-headed step child? Guess what. I was an actual red headed step child. No picnic! Deal with it. You don’t feel part of the family? Do something about it. If you make an excuse every time you don’t experience success, you will be a loser.

Remember the scene from Good Will Hunting where Robin Williams keeps telling Matt Damon, “It’s not your fault”? That was for being abused as a child. Truly, it was not his fault.  If you are a healthy adult, you should be looking in the mirror every day and saying to yourself, it is your fault. The truth is just about everything in your life is your fault, good or bad.

This translates to your personal life as well. Your kids are pigs and leave the house dirty? Your fault. Punish them. They will get tired of not having a phone or a gaming system. 

Your significant other doesn’t want to spend time with you? Your fault. Try doing something special for him or her.

Your kids don’t call you often enough? Your fault. Make that call the highlight of their day. Your boyfriend is a loser who smokes pot and can’t keep a job? Your fault. Get rid of him. You’ll find another.

Work to Get Better

Excuses are crutches that we use to keep our spirits up, but we’re actually fooling ourselves.  Burn the boats. Focus on the basics: 

  • Are you eating right?
  • Are you reading books?
  • Are you associating with successful people?
  • Do you have a mentor? 
  • Are you mentoring anyone?
  • Are you getting enough sleep?
  • Are you getting better every day?

If you make a habit of getting better every day, you’ll look back after a year and think, “Hmm… that really added up.” After 10 you’ll think, “That was pretty cool.” After 20 you’ll think, “That was badass.”

“To let life happen to you is irresponsible.  To create your day is divine right.” – Ramtha

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