Not many people are aware that they are dropping the ball. You know why? There’s always a thousand and one reasons readily available to you to defend yourself when you are dropping the ball. And some reasons may be valid. For instance, a bigger project with less resources at your disposal, introduction of a new but complicated process with insufficient training, unrealistic expectations from managers.    

As there are a plethora of reasons for dropping the ball and giving “tenable “excuses, there are also a variety of reasons to assist and score goals with the team. And from my experience, dropping the ball starts with getting comfortable with giving excuses. Have you asked someone before how they are and gotten the response,”Busy. Really busy.” I mean, who isn’t busy? Being busy has become synonymous with being of value.   

I suspect people assume that the busier you are, the more important you must be. Nothing can be far from the truth.  When you find yourself perpetually giving excuses on deliverables or assignments, then you need to look within and figure out how to fix the major cause of your lethargy.    

Why is this important?  Organizations, bosses, line managers, leaders need people that add value to the team. So, unless you are currently at a place where the organization is not looking to get better than last quarter, last year or financial year, chances are that you are shortchanging yourself for bigger projects, bigger opportunity to showcase your skills, talent or promotion prospects. Let me state this unequivocally; goal getters avoid people that are quick to land excuses or point out a thousand reasons why an opportunity will not fly like a plaque. You should not be one of them. So, what can you do differently?    

Fix the root cause of the problem. If you are taking on one to many tasks at once for instance, be bold and humble enough to acknowledge you are not the Superman/woman people think you are, and shed some work, or better yet delegate. It is much better than letting them down with incessant excuses.    

You have probably heard this before. Stop majoring on the minor. You should not let what matters the least, keep you from what matters the most. Prioritize! One thing has worked well for me. The rule of 3 be it daily, weekly, monthly or even quarterly. That rule is all about prioritizing the most important tasks you need to execute.   

Address unrealistic expectations. I once listened to my wife push back respectfully on a deadline given to her by her manager in her voluntary job. She did it with tact and grace. With boisterous twins to nurture, her own business and home to manage, she knew too well to set the expectations right. Do not let other people’s dreams, wants and priorities snuff out your own.    

Finally, never make a rash decision. Carefully think it through before making any commitment. Your word should be your bond. You should not in one breath take on a responsibility without gaining clarity and then drop the ball backed by excuses in another. It demoralizes the team, gives your boss a headache and most importantly make you look like a flippant fellow who should not be taken seriously. 

Remember this, excuses will always be there for you. Opportunity won’t. So be stronger than your strongest excuse.

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