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Get Rid of Built-In Excuses
Embracing greatness means finding a way to get done what needs to be done.
One of our assistant coaches said it best to our team last year during training: No built-in excuses. What are built-in excuses? "It's windy." "It's cold." "It's hot." "My stomach hurts." "I'm not good at this." "This isn't what I do." And so on.
Every athlete can find excuses not to get something done. It's not difficult. They all have something going on mentally, physically, and emotionally. Sometimes there are legitimate reasons to stop an activity or not push beyond limitations. However, athletes often settle for built-in excuses, so if they don't perform up to their personal, social, or coach expectations, they give themselves an out.
Beforehand it sounds like: "It's so cold out here!"
Afterward, like this: "I just couldn't run as fast because it's cold out here."
Or another. Beforehand: "I'm not good at running this race."
After: "Yeah I'm just not good at that race."
These are all easy ways out. They set low goals, so if they over-perform, they can relish in praise for reaching standard expectations. If they underperform, they have the built-in excuse already in hand! But as lyricist Sho Baraka once said: "Life's a slam dunk when you have low goals!"
Easy doesn't build greatness. Comfort never invites growth. So as coaches, we fight daily to push our athletes to zones of mental, physical, and emotional discomfort because we know that's where they'll discover who they are—great.
But the same can be said for us, coaches and adults. We self-deprecate and have built-in excuses in case things go awry in our lives. For me, it's managing our family finances. Crunching numbers has always made me nervous, so I selfishly leave my wife the burden of balancing our finances. But instead of using the built-in excuses that "I'm not good at finances," I can work on being a better partner and help my wife burden the responsibility of our budget.
It comes naturally to fall back on excuses. But our world will never change if we settle into the stagnation of built-in excuses. So what built-in excuses do you need to get rid of today? How will putting those excuses aside help you pursue your lifestyle changes and the ultimate quest for greatness?
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