The following is a transcription of Voice of Bold Business Radio Program 41: Say Goodbye to Excuses

Program Notes Can be Found Here.

Transcript of Program 41:  Say Goodbye to Excuses

Jessica: This is The Voice of Bold Business Radio, and I am your host Jessica Dewell of Red Direction. You are listening to ‘Say Goodbye to Excuses’. This show that was recorded is pretty amazing. It’s great. There’s a part where I was challenged and I rose to the challenge, and I stepped up and was really thoughtful about why I think the way that I think, and I would encourage you guys to do the same when that part of the conversation comes up.

How we define words matters, and it shapes our worldview, and it’s how things become real for us. What if they’re really not real for us? We’re making the choice to make it real for us? This is a very important thing when we’re talking about excuses, because we can control what we can control… and we can’t control what’s out of our control. So when we think about our own actions we have a lot of choices, and we can make choices and when we make our choices and how we do our planning all fit in to what our reality is. Then if we rationalize away, if we deal with cya, if we’re able to just kind of scoot it under the rug because it doesn’t feel good and we’re just moving on… all those things are types of excuses. I’m going to introduce you to Geoffrey and Tom in just a minute, who talked with me today about excuses and we had a really good conversation. I implore you to take a look and really think about it. There’s some good tips, some great stories, and we covered things like normalization. When we hear something and experience something and do something so much it’s second nature, and we forget to challenge it and look at it critically. Tips to identify, and stories that we can use of our choices, which we may or may not make excuses about. AND why it’s bold to say goodbye to excuses.

Announcer (amid background music): Welcome to The Voice of Bold Business, the show that provides everything smart leaders need to evaluate situations, build relationships, and create solutions. Jessica Dewell candidly talks about the skills necessary to build tenacity, and do more with less. And now, here’s Jessica:

Jessica: Geoffery X Lane is a “tell it like it is” consultant coach, and he has a sense of humor about himself and his love of his work. He knows his point of view might not be the ultimate truth or even close to it, and people pay him for his insight. He is still learning to show up, and he really hates bull****.

Tom Rhodes has spent more than 40 years in sales and retail management. He started in a sales role with a textile converting company selling to the athletic apparel industry. Then he spent more than 30 years in a retail store and multi-unit leadership. He is very involved with social media and the role it plays in building relationships between colleagues and customers and people today.

When I reached out to you guys, I was telling you about this topic ‘Say goodbye to excuses’. You guys both popped in to my head for a variety of reasons from the conversations we’ve had both on and off Voice of Bold Business Radio. What I want to know from you… what is an excuse to you, and how do you identify that you’re hearing or giving an excuse?

Geoffrey: I think an excuse is lack of clarity. If you’re really clear about what you want to do, and you are really showing up, you would just say “no thanks” and not make an excuse about it. But most people make excuses in their head between their ears more often than they do to other people. But excuses sometimes are just reasons not to do things. If you don’t want to do it, then why the hell are you doing it? Because when you lie to yourself, you lower your self-esteem, you lower your ability to commit, you create problems for yourself when you lie to yourself. The biggest thing about excuses is, quit lying. Quit lying to yourself. It also causes problems in interactions with other people when you say, ‘Yes I’d like to do that’ and then there’s a big ‘but, but, but, but’, or there’s a two week pause before you actually reply. Excuses justifies reasons why not. I think it’s actually a lack of clarity and sometimes a lack of courage to say what you really want.

Tom: Lots of times, people work on the excuses harder than they work on a reason to actually do it, and have the courage to actually do it. They get an idea of something they want to do and go through all their heads all the reasons they shouldn’t, instead of really finding out why they should and what’s going to be a benefit for them in the long run. If they take it on and like you said, why did they take it on in the first place, that’s a good point. If they take it on and they don’t do well at it they’ve already developed the excuses as to why they are not doing well and it just snowballs, and people lose trust in you if you do that. They don’t give you those challenging opportunities, because they think you’re just going to find a reason not to do it anyway.

You really put yourself behind the 8 ball in a sense if you’re not just really upfront and honest about what you understand and what you don’t and kind of hold yourself accountable for getting it done.

Geoffrey: When you’re really clear about what you want to do, it’s easy to say no. When you’re not, when you’re in a fog about ‘Oh, I could do this or I could do that’ and the client says to you “Could you do this?” in a business situation, if you’re in a fog you think, ‘Oh yeah, I could do it, I’d have to really work hard at it’. Whereas if you’re really being clear about what it is that you do, having some clarity, you say ‘No, that’s not something I can do. That’s not something I choose to do’. You save your client embarrassment, you save the relationship, and the biggest thing is that you get rid of some excuses.

Tom: I know if I’m a client of yours and you come to me and say ‘Hey, you know I can’t do this’, I’m going to trust in you a lot more for something else I ask you to do that you tell me yes I can do that…because then I’m going to understand that you already know you can’t do it, you’re not hesitating. If I’m a client, I don’t necessarily want to see hesitation from the person who I might be paying or working with to get something accomplished. I want to see that they understand what they’re doing and they’re going to work out for me too, because I think it’s important for me.

Geoffrey: The other part of it is the personal side when you go ‘Oh, yeah well I should go exercise, or I will go exercise. You know, I’m going to sign up for an exercise class’, and then you don’t. That is more dangerous long-term, internally for you than even the relationship with clients. Because sometimes we’ll actually do more for someone else than to do it for ourselves. You know if I make a commitment to a client and then think I can do this but it means it’s a stretch, well I might stretch for a client. There might be all sorts of motivations why I stretch for a client, but when it’s stretch for myself, and I haven’t told myself the truth about it and I just muck around with it, that is far more dangerous in the long run.

Jessica: How much of this is a construct that’s rooted in right and wrong, I can, I can’t.  I don’t want to fail, so I’m not even going to try to succeed?

Tom: I think it’s all based around choices. The biggest power we have, I’ve always felt, we have the ability to choose. Okay, that’s the one thing we can do for ourselves. We can choose. You’ll hear a lot of ‘Oh, I didn’t have any choice.’ You’ll always have a choice. When you start making excuses, you’re almost limiting your own choices. You’ve already said I’m not going to do it, basically within your own line, you’re kind of setting up your own decisions in that case.

Geoffrey: I think that would be a hard sell for most people. The biggest default excuse, in society in general, that I hear, is ‘I didn’t have a choice’. For most people, personal accountability starts at what I like.

They laugh

Geoffrey: It starts with, Oh I like to do this, so I’ll choose to do it. Well, just get honest and say “Well what the ****, that’s what I like to do. I don’t want to do it.” It takes so much energy to do the things we don’t like or we don’t have preferences about and we don’t state those preferences or those choices, it takes so much energy to go there and do it that the cost is enormous. I don’t like swimming, but they keep saying ‘it’s good for you.’ Yeah, well, no thanks. I don’t want to do swimming. I’ll do yoga, or hot yoga instead. So it’s not a right or wrong thing, but this whole notion of being right, I think is accelerated by the political business climate. You see articles on LinkedIn, Facebook or wherever you take your social media feed from that says ’10 steps to doing it right’. Well yeah, okay, it’s obvious that some people did things the right way when they did it, but is it applicable to you? Well, only if you’re clear about what it is that you want to do, then you’ll know if it’s applicable. If you’re wandering around going ‘Oh I could try this or I could try that, or I could do this’.

Tom: Yeah, well what’s right for them may not necessarily be right for you, depending on what your situation is. Everybody’s situation is different. I have a young daughter, so what’s right for me to do has to fit in to what’s good for her. If you don’t have that situation, your right and wrong or your best steps or best practices may be totally different than mine would be.

Jessica: Obligations. I think that’s a really good thing to bring up here.

Geoffrey: Hang on. You just used a word that I hate.

Jessica: Well I’m using obligation…

Geoffrey: Come on there’s no such thing as an obligation! That’s bull****! That’s a choice.

Jessica: Well hang on. I chose to have a child, and I chose to get married and I choose to volunteer. Which means I have an obligation to do what I said I would do.

Geoffrey: You don’t have an obligation. Because you said it right the first time. It was a choice. Commitment is different from an obligation. Choose your words carefully because they really make a big difference.

Jessica: A lot of people that I know who live paycheck to paycheck, they are worried about losing their job. They want to make sure they can pay their mortgage and put food on the table. Those are obligations to survive.

Geoffrey: No, they’re commitments, and have nothing to do with survival. They are commitments that you made. Let’s take a mortgage for example. You borrowed money in order to buy property and you are legally required to pay. If you don’t you forfeit your home, or your house, or your investment, whatever it is. That is a legal commitment. It is binding. That is not an obligation. Because I can tell you, you can walk away from a mortgage and still survive. The way you survive is a choice. You could survive living on a street. You can survive living in a shelter. You use the word. Be really careful, there are no obligations in this world. It is always choice. See obligation is such a bloody good excuse word. It’s an excuse.

Jessica: Maybe I’m using, somewhat interchangeably, commitment and obligation in certain things, but I know if I make a choice and I say yes to the guy who comes to the door to ask for money for his charity, or to buy something from him, I might be saying no to taking my kid and his friend to go get ice cream as the surprise I wanted.

Geoffrey: That’s still choice.

Jessica: Am I obligated to you or the bank or the friend or the child or the business partner? No. But am I obligated to myself? Yes.

Geoffrey: Well the dictionary says: “Obligate – to bind or compel someone.” Are you compelled, or are you making a choice?

Jessica: What’s another definition? There’s got to be more than one.

Tom: Okay, so let’s go back to what you were saying about choice you’re making with giving somebody money at the door. You’ve made the choice now to make that contribution instead of going to get ice cream. Your next step basically is you have to hold yourself accountable to complete the choice. You might feel that you’re obligate to do it, but all you’re doing basically is saying okay, I made this commitment, now I have to finish that commitment. I’m accountable to finish that commitment because I made that promise, whatever the promise might be. I agree here that it’s not an obligation. It’s your choice.

Geoffrey: There are very few obligations in this world. What there are is choices that sometimes you regret and sometimes don’t like. We don’t live in a world currently of slavery, although I believe that we live sometimes in a world of economic slavery, which is a completely different story. Which I’d love to suggest as a topic… economic slavery in the 21st century. But when it comes to choices and excuses, excuses are little band-aids for us to go ‘I don’t want to do it right now. I don’t feel like it.’, so we use an excuse instead of being honest. I think it’s perfectly okay to say to somebody ‘I know I gave you my word, but I actually don’t want to do this’. You might want to apologize, but no excuses. Just say, I don’t want to do it.

Jessica: It’s in your opinions, which I don’t know if I agree with this yet… in your opinions, obligation is a little bit of a construct of right and wrong. It is too black or too white, or too whatever color you choose.

Geoffrey: Yeah.

Jessica: I’m thinking about businesses. I’m thinking about my employees. I’m thinking, I started this business, I have this thing that I do, and I’m doing this thing and I love every second of it, and I have an obligation to make good choices so that I can continue to pay my employees.

Geoffrey: Here is what you said, and you even messed it up in your language here… “I’m obligated to make good choices”.  You’re either going to make good choices, or you’re not. That’s not an obligation.

Jessica: But I want to do it well. See, I love this language lesson.

Geoffrey: Language is so important because it can really fuzz up the mind. If you drop out the word obligation, and I ask you ‘do you want to make good choices for your business?’

Jessica: Of course I want to make good business decisions! I’m a fairly smart business lady!

Geoffrey: That’s not an obligation. That’s a commitment to make good choices.

Jessica: Okay, then something binding would be… child support. Where somebody outside of you is telling you you owe it and they’re taking it from you.

Geoffrey: Let’s talk about child support. That was generated by a choice by that individual. You go back, and follow it back, there will be a reason that the court said ‘You are required’.

Jessica: Of course.

Geoffrey: So that was a choice. It might have been divorce, it might have been irresponsibility, it could be all sorts of things, but irresponsibility is another clever word for excuses.

Jessica: Ok Tom.

Tom: You have a choice as to whether you pay it or not. You can walk away from it. Can you walk away from the consequences of that choice? Probably not. But you still have a choice. I see a lot of people who make what I would consider the wrong choice there and don’t meet the commitment in making that payment that they should. But they still have a choice. Let’s say they tie it to your job. Well, guess what? You can leave your job. Then what are they tying it to? (?) So you always have a choice. There is always a choice.

Geoffrey: It’s like people say, ‘Oh, I hate taxes. I don’t want to pay taxes.’ Okay, don’t pay taxes. But it has consequences. Sometimes in a large mobile society, you can hide for a long time. But think about what that choice of not paying taxes and hiding does. There are always consequences to every choice.

Jessica: Sure. We’re talking at different points on a path I think, of where we are…

Geoffrey: There are different degrees of honesty.

Jessica: I actually think I’m talking more about how people perceive their reality.

Geoffrey: I want to clarify. Are you saying that there’s degrees of awareness?

Jessica: That’s what I believe, but I think what I’m saying is… what I am aware of is completely determined by my past experience and the outcomes of my choices and the continual choices I’m making.

Tom: Whatever situation you’re in, no matter how much you want to look in the mirror and deny it, you put yourself there. Now, some people may have tried to push you in a certain direction or maybe you think they made a bad decision that affected you. At the same time, how you react to their decision is still a choice. You can’t make excuses for where you are. You’re there because you decided to be there in some small way at some point in time, you chose that path.

Jessica: This is The Voice of Bold Business Radio. You are listening to Program 41, Say Goodbye to Excuses.

Geoffrey: Can I tell you a little story?

Jessica: Okay.

Geoffrey: Okay, so you have to use your imagination. I’m going to describe the situation. It’s fictional, obviously.

James Bond is running down a corridor and he comes to a dead end. Running up the other way are a bunch of me with machine guns. He sees a door and he jumps in to the room. All of a sudden, the door slams shut, and he finds himself in a steel room, and there are two holes in the floor. One is filled with excrement and blood and awful, and the other is half full of blood and excrement. All of a sudden, he hears a sound. It’s the sound of gears rolling. Then all of a sudden, the doors start moving, and they’re moving towards him. Slowly but surely, these doors move and move, and the amount of space that he’s got is getting less and less. He’s looking at the floor and thinking ‘What do I do? What do I do? I’ve got a choice to make here.’ As it gets close, he jumps in to the half full, and it slams shut above him. Did he make a good choice? Did he make the only choice? What do you think?

Jessica: Well, he had the other choice.  Actually he had two other choices.

Geoffrey: Yeah, he could have jumped in to full and drowned.

Jessica: He could have been squished.

Geoffrey: He could have been squished. And there’s a piece of paper. But he jumped in to half-full. That’s a dramatic example of how most people make choices. They choose half-full. Sometimes the consequence of making a choice is… you get thin. It smacks you. Sometimes there are two holes in the floor full. The real choice was before he jumped in to the room. Because he could have turned around, and he could have fought, and he could have made a difference.

Most people miss that choice. There’s always an earlier place that you could have made a choice. It’s always something that happened before. When you’re staring at difficult times or difficult choices, tracing it back to the source of the original choice will bring you some awareness of how you make choices. Then you’ve got a choice… a different one…you can either change the way you make choices, pay attention to how you make choices, never make that choice again, or go ‘what the *** this doesn’t matter’.  Those are all choices. It’s very easy, when you are faced with difficult choices, to blame. That’s where excuses come up. We all want to be right about ourselves. We all want to believe that we know what’s best for ourselves, but actually the only way we know what’s best for ourselves is to make choices. Some of them are going to work beautifully, and some are not going to work. That’s of course unless you reach godlike status like James Bond, because he always survives.

Jessica: What would you add to that Tom?

Tom: The last thing you want to do is start going so far back in your self-awareness that you decide to live in the past. You make choices. You have to learn from those choices and try not to make those ones you felt were bad for your future or bad for where you are at that point in time… not to make them again. If you dwell too far in to that, you could just live in it and then you’re never moving forward. The first choice that you have to make is to say, okay, I’m going to study this for a little bit, but then I’m going to move on. The second choice is, and he mentioned that, one of my favorite words, blame, you can’t blame everybody else. I’m here, okay. I’m here because I got here. I’d love to sit down and I could give you a list of 50 people I’d love to blame for where I am. But guess what? At some point in time, I made the decision that got me to where I am. Blaming everybody else is just basically a waste of my time, a waste of their time, and a waste of energy, so I don’t do there. I’m here. This is where I am. I have to accept where I am at this point in time and if I want it to be different, then I have to learn from the bad choices I made before, and move forward. Just don’t dwell too long on finding that self-awareness that you’re still living back in 1970.

Jessica: I think that’s a big trap that a lot of people fall in. When they go back and then they reflect, not only might they get stuck there, they’re blaming their past, which does not help them make different choices today or tomorrow or the next day.

Geoffrey: I’ve got a formula that I use that’s based on critical path thinking, or Peter Senge’s work of understanding systems. I ask myself three questions. The first question is ‘What worked?’ The second question is ‘What did not work?’ The third question is ‘What can I do differently?’ That will really throw out your choices really easily. That will also get rid of excuses, because one of the reasons we use excuses because sometimes there’s a bit of us thinking ‘oh yeah that worked, a part of that worked’. Often in choices, we either make them black and white. Well they’re not black and white. Some things work, some things don’t work. Unless you ask yourself what can you do differently, you don’t make a good choice next time. Just fighting between these two variables, but until you ask yourself ‘Well what can I do differently’.

Tom: There are really very few black and whites. There’s always a space in the middle. Steven Covey put out a book that I don’t think got its recognition because unfortunately he had his accident and passed away, called ‘The Eighth Habit’. Basically it’s all about how do we find a third alternative? We’ve got black, white, and how do we find the thing in the middle that’s going to work for a win-win situation for both sides. We have to understand that the choices we make don’t always just affect us. Jessica, you talked about it earlier. The decisions I make with my business, how many people work for me, do those decisions affect? That has to be part of it. It can’t be black and white. Part of that thought process has to be, how do these decisions I make affect the people that are relying on me basically to give them a paycheck. You have to take all that in to it, so there’s no black and white. There’s a big gray area. I guess your job if you want to put it that way. Your focus has to be how do I get that gray area to where I can make the best decisions for everyone involved, including myself.

Jessica: Martyrs don’t win either.

Geoffrey: No, martyrs are excuses anyway.

Jessica: Agreed. There’s this concept of normalization. It demonstrates and manifests as the ‘cover your ass’ syndrome. No matter what’s going on, I’m only going to make choices that I know I’m not going to get in trouble for because I’ve done this and this and this and this. Now we’ve got some normalization.

Tom: At some point you have to be willing to challenge things. Maybe you have a certain feeling that you’re kind of settled on, confident in, or whatever. But you still want to challenge it, because the only way you ever learn is to challenge. You have to learn to ask the right questions, or a lot of questions to find different kinds of answers to things. If you just sit back and say, well that’s normal, so I’m going to accept it, you might as well sit on the couch over here and watch TV the rest of your life because you’re not going anyplace. You have to consistently challenge yourself and the situation around you if you’re ever going to find a better path, a more fulfilling path, or whatever your purpose is. However you want to document it. There’s so many different words for different things nowadays. I would just not… I think you just can’t be normal. You have to ask questions. You have to think in different terms. The way we did it five years ago, maybe that was still better, or maybe we need to try this.

Geoffrey: My grandmother had an enormous influence on me as a child. She was a short Devon working class lady with the kind of big rosy cheeks you see lots of Devon cream. Obviously I’m from the UK. She had all these sayings, and when I was a kid I just used to laugh at them, but I use them so much now, because they’re based on common sense. I agree with Tom… common sense is the thing. When I was a teenager I was trying to make decisions, because I’m the thinker, I like to analyze everything. Sometimes I analyze myself in to a box. She used to say “Geoffrey, take your finger, stick it in the ground, give it a twist, now smell your finger. If it smells of s*** you should move.”

They laugh

Geoffrey: Mentally, be present. If it smells weird, or it seems strange, it probably is. It’s probably not s***, it’s probably bull****. I mean, you know, you didn’t want to be political, but boy, people are throwing stuff out right now, everywhere, that you go ‘Huh? That doesn’t make sense.’ If your initial reaction is that it doesn’t make sense, you’ve just done what my grandmother used to do. You’ve gone ‘Oh yeah, it smells of ***’.

Jessica: And pay attention to that. That’s where normalization can get us, because we hear it, we hear it, we hear it, and it’s like ‘Well…maybe it doesn’t smell so bad’.

Tom: You talked about self-awareness earlier. Self-awareness is important, but what I think is even more important is awareness of what’s around you. Your eyes and ears can’t be closed at almost any moment.  My background is primarily in the retail industry. I can walk in to a store anywhere and I can pretty much tell you what the culture of that store is without being there five minutes, because I’ve been in so many of those different environments, and you look at the people who work there and you see the customers expressions on their face. I can tell you right now whether it’s a good experience or not a good experience and how the customers are. Are the associates taking care of them, or ar they not taking care of them? It’s because I walk in and I hear and I see and I look around and I get a feeling from what’s around me and have awareness of what’s around me. Maybe we’re on the same path a lot, because my Dad was British and came over here when he was eight. His mother and father were from there so I probably had some of those same sayings way back then.

Geoffrey: In Britain historically, and most of Europe have had demigods and demography and autocratic and subjection and world wars and it has altered their society. They don’t trust government, naturally. I have a real skepticism of what comes out of a politician’s mouth. All the time. They have real skepticism about the ability of government to do things. They don’t wait for government to do things. They really challenge it and they really look at it in a different way. What I find odd about North America is if it’s written, or if a government official says it, or if a politician said it, it’s treated at first glance that it might be the truth. But the frame of reference in Europe and other parts of the world, the first question is ‘Are they telling the truth?’, whereas here it is ‘is it the truth?’ They don’t take anything that seriously. In fact, they just don’t take politicians that serious because they have thousand years’ worth of history where leaders are messed up all the time. They’ve had good leaders and bad leaders, so historical perspective leads to a different frame of reference when you’re encountering this normalization. It’s amazing to me sometimes that what people think is normal in North America… I travel back and forth between Canada and the United States on a regular basis, and so I don’t know what I am anymore, am I Canadian, am I British, am I American? And I’ve worked in Australia. I don’t have a lot of the frames that many people look at. Take glasses for example… glasses help me see, but the frames, mental frameworks help people think. But if the frame is distorted, they don’t see things clearly anyway. They might just believe in area… what is it? Area 54, 53? They might believe that exists. It’s kind of fun to think that exists, right? I’m all about oh yeah that could be fun.

In a way, it’s much more challenging to be honest and tell one’s self the truth. I’m not about telling anybody else the truth, I’m just wanting to know my own perspective, so to tell myself the truth. That feels like BS, I trust it.

Jessica: The last thing I’d like to hear from each of you is: Why is, or what about saying goodbye to excuses is necessary and bold as a leader today?

Tom: I think people are getting smart enough now that they see through it. I think you lose your credibility with the people you work with the minute you start two things… making excuses, and pointing the finger. When you do those two things, people look at you with skepticism. They’re not going to trust in what you’re doing, they’re not going to trust in what you’re saying. Then you’ve lost at that point in time. You might as well just be out there walking around by yourself, because they’re not going to believe in you. Hold yourself accountable. If you make a mistake, say you made a mistake, let’s move on, what can we learn from it. Even if you use it as a teaching example for your team that ‘hey, I made a mistake, so how do we work out of my mistake? How do we work together and fix my mistake in this situation?’ I think when you’re honest like that with them and you hold yourself accountable and you’re clear on what you’re looking for, you earn respect and you build a team and you can move forward. People are smart out there. They’re a lot smarter than we think they are. We have to understand that. We’re not going to pull the wool over their eyes a lot.

Geoffrey: I would like to support what Tom is saying, really very strongly. There’s something I call the halo effect that is projected on leaders by the group. You choose to work for someone else because you believe and trust they’re going to take you in the right direction. That happens a lot. But part of the problem with that is, you are in a way, giving away your choices to that leader. You’re saying, okay, I’ll follow this person and let them make the choices, and then when it doesn’t work I can blame them, so I get to use the leader as an excuse. Now, if you’re the leader that’s very edifying. That’s wonderful. Look at that, I’m the leader, so they’re going to follow me. Well, yeah, and they’ll desert you just as fast as they joined you if you make the wrong choices.

Tom: Yes they will.

Geoffrey: So you either make your organization flat and make it inclusive, and create a community around making choices. So how you make choices as a leader becomes very important. I have twice left organizations when I saw that the leader is making excuses for their choices, because I know that it’s up to me. If it’s to be, it’s up to me. That’s one of my favorite sayings “if it’s to be, it’s up to me”. It is not up to anyone else. So even when I choose to work for an organization, I need to take a look at, as a consultant, as a trainer, as a instigator, I think that should be my name…

Jessica: By the way, he is everybody. Look at what he did at the beginning of our conversation.

They all laugh

Geoffrey: But I’m not afraid to tweak the nose of anybody, because my life is a stake. If everybody took the position that ‘my life is at stake’, with the choices that they make, you’d see much clearer choices. But excuses are a wonderful umbrella. Luck, ya know. ‘This president is going to save us. He’s going to do this. There have been more failures as presidents than there have been successes. It just depends who you ask about what president of what organization, or what country.

Jessica: We’re not talking about necessarily the President of the United States or the president of another country. We could be talking about the president of our company.

Geoffrey: I’m talking about presidents of companies.

Jessica: We could even be talking about presidents of nonprofit or anywhere. Anywhere there’s a president title.

Geoffrey: So if you look at the turnover rate in presidents in the executive position, it’s huge. It’s one of the highest turnover positions. Why? Because they fail on a regular basis. Now, where you see a president is there for a long time, and you start looking at the qualities of that president, then you suddenly notice things. Oh, look, he was president of GE for 15 years. What did he do? What was it that he created? He’s been a successful president of Cancer Research Society for X number of years. What were they doing? You’ll notice that the ones that have been there for a while were willing to make the hard choices and not make excuses.

Jessica: Right.

Geoffrey: They did not make any excuses.

Tom: They were willing to have those difficult conversations without making the choice to walk away from them. You just have to do that. That’s just part of it. I think it’s important that you learn to do it in a way that is humane, but at the same time, you still have to have them.

Jessica: Empathy, and facing uncomfortableness… our own uncomfortableness in our own fears, and having empathy not only for ourselves, but for whoever we’re going to be interacting with makes a big difference as well.

Holy cow. Our time has gone by so fast guys. I am just so glad… I haven’t said it yet, but I am going to be saying how much I was looking forward to having you guys on the show. Because I do my intro after our conversation now.

They all laugh

Geoffrey: Well you’re not obligated to say it!

Jessica: I’m totally obligated to say it. Oh goodness. We’ll have to continue that conversation. I love it. I hope that other people join in and talk to us about what obligation means to them, and their take on it. For the most part, I am in agreement with both Tom and Geoffrey. The thing is, I know that there are people not in the same place, and not at the level of awareness that I am, or not in the place in life that I am, and maybe I just need a different word besides obligation and choice. I’m not sure. We’ll have to keep that conversation going, and you guys can help us with that. Until next time. You know you’ll see Tom back. You know you’ll see Geoffrey back. This is The Voice of Bold Business Radio.

Thanks for joining us today. You will find program notes at, or search the site for ‘Say goodbye to excuses’. Share your story and experience to continue this conversation of what it means to be a leader today, make a difference, be bold, stand out, choose to goodbye to excuses.

Announcer – Subscribe at and get more information, program notes, and past episodes. Bold leaders approach each situation and focus on action to achieve a higher level of leadership. Jessica Dewell, your business advocate is the host of The Voice of Bold Business Radio. Thank you for joining us.