Given the Circumstances
Let me just say it to start with: it doesn’t matter.
The circumstances we face never serve as justification for the result. Far too often, we search for excuses when things don’t go the way we want. We want to feel better, to soothe our ego. One of the most common, easiest ways to do this is to blame our circumstances.
I had no choice … what was I supposed to do … I couldn’t do anything about it …
Our circumstances are such a convenient scapegoat. And, if you don’t attribute the substandard performance to your circumstances quickly enough, someone will do it for you. One of your ‘friends’ will help you justify the result.
The phrase ‘given the circumstances’ immediately lowers the expectation, which is what we’re going for. It relieves us of responsibility, and makes whatever the result is more acceptable.
At least we think it does. But, it doesn’t.
See, we know what we are capable of. We know, regardless of what we say out loud, that the circumstances must be irrelevant. We know the standard is the standard - not the standard is the standard as long as something doesn’t make it too hard to reach it.
Why Should We Care?
The problem isn’t the use of our circumstances as an excuse anyway.
The problem is that we feel like we need an excuse.
If our focus was on the process, on testing ourselves, on constant growth; then we would see excuses for the pitiful, useless waste they are.
It’s our obsession with the result that drives the need for excuses. The search for unfortunate circumstances is simply a window to the focus of our mind.
Shift to a process-centered mentality and suddenly the circumstances become irrelevant. Actually, the more challenging, the more adverse, the better. The difficulty gives us more opportunity for growth, which those in love with the process cherish.
When we accept the circumstances, we are freed to commit fully to the process. Only then can we perform without the fear of failure and judgement.
The performance process becomes very simple.
REAL TALK - Action Steps
Accepting our circumstances while maintaining the standard is a challenge for those pursuing excellence within teams or as an individual. Here are a few ideas to simplify it.
Remember, it’s not the excuse that’s the problem. The excuse is the symptom. The real issue is that we think we need to provide an excuse. When we know where home is, excuses become completely irrational because they only lead us away from it.
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I'm a teacher, coach, and parent seeking excellence while defining success on my own terms.