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No Excuse
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January 27, 2015


Wow!  Thanks for your great response to my last newsletter, "How Bad Do You Want It?" It clearly struck a chord. So, I decided to continue with this theme as you begin to consider and reconsider what resolutions are worth your time, energy and perhaps money this year.


I recently read this in the book, "Lead with a Story."  


When Bob McDonald joined the U.S. Military Academy at West point in 1971, he quickly learned there were only four acceptable responses when addressed by a superior officer. Those were "Yes, sir"; "No, sir"; "I don't understand, sir"; and "No excuse, sir."


As he explained it, "Imagine I've shined my shoes, my trousers are pressed, and I go out to formation. While in line, one of my classmates rushes past and steps in a puddle, splashing mud all over my shoes and trousers. Then an upperclassman walks by and notices. 'McDonald! Why are you in formation with mud all over your shoes and trousers?'

"As a West Point cadet, I go through all four possible answers in my head. 'Yes, sir' would just restate the obvious, so that doesn't seem appropriate. And it would probably get me yelled at even more. I couldn't say 'No, sir' because it was clearly true. I'd get thrown out of the academy for lying. 'I don't understand, sir' would just make me look stupid. As a new cadet I was doing enough of that already. The only answer I had left was the fourth one, and it's the most powerful one of all- 'No excuse, sir.' Even though something happened to me that was outside my control, I wasn't supposed to make any excuses. I was supposed to say, 'No excuse, sir. It won't happen again.' That's how a West Point cadet takes responsibility, which is an important part of character."  


It's a lesson Bob McDonald never forgot throughout his career. As the CEO of Procter & Gamble, he was responsible for setting stretch goals for the company. He made sure that everyone knew the "No excuse, sir" response is a clear indication of commitment and responsibility. 

Think about the goals you set and never achieved, like reaching a revenue number, losing those last 10 pounds, improving your work-life balance, getting that promotion, or finding that perfect-for-you partner. It's easy to blame it on someone else, genetics, the economy or even fate. Or you can choose to empower yourself and make no excuses. 


While some things happen that are out of our control, it's how we choose to respond to it--by giving up or giving more--that will determine our success.

Share your wisdom on my Facebook Page or reply back to me. I love hearing from you!


To Your Wisdom, 




PS: If this message resonates with you, please share it by forwarding it or clicking on the social media buttons above. 



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