What is the difference between excuse and execute?
There has been so much written, researched and presented about what makes a great leader. There will continue to be a focus on this important topic as great leaders will continue to be needed in all areas.
My focus for this post is one of the main concepts that I have seen and experienced when it comes to leading. There is no question that those leaders who stand out are the ones that not on achieve results but often exceed expectations. This is often a direct result of being accountable and taking action or in other words it they clearly understand the difference between excuse and execute.
To make a quick and simple comparison between these two words let’s take a look at their general definition:
Excuse is an attempt to lessen the blame attaching to (a fault or offense); seek to defend or justify.
Execute is the carrying out or putting into effect of a plan, order, or course of action.
After reviewing these two definitions it hopefully starts to become quite obvious what makes a great leader. They are the ones that focus on execution and not excuses. They are the ones that realize that nothing happens until a plan is decided upon and action is taken. When challenges present themselves, they don’t look for a way out but rather they look for a way to overcome and press forward. This is not always easy but it is worth it to achieve success.
I have mentioned many times that leaders come in many shapes and sizes. To be a leader you do not need some corporate title but rather the ability to set an example, influence others and get positive results. This comes from eliminating excuses and focusing on execution.
I want to share an incredible example of this with the man called The Iron Cowboy aka James Lawrence. If you have not heard about him, you will. Let me share with you why.
James is a goal driven individual who is focused on execution while eliminating excuses, no matter how easy it might be to have legitimate reasons to quite.
The Iron Cowboy accomplished something that has never been done before; he completed 50 Ironman Triathlons in 50 consecutive days in 50 states. You read that correctly, he traveled to every state and completed an Ironman Triathlon. What is an Ironman Triathlon?
You start by swimming 2.4 miles, then you bike 112 miles and finish by running a full marathon, 26.2 miles. Not sure about you but I am tired just reading that. So he did this 50 times which means he swam a total of 120 miles, biked a total of 5,600 miles and ran 1,310 miles, not to mention the fact that he was traveling to every state. Now you can clearly see that if there was anyone who might have a legitimate reason to find excuses not to finish, it would be The Iron Cowboy. However, he was 100% focused on execution of his plan.
In speaking with James about his experience completing this monumental goal he would mention that quitting was never an option. He had set a goal and was going to accomplish it no matter what. His focus was on the overall impact that what he was doing would have on others, not necessarily himself.
Were their legitimate reasons or excuses that he could have used to stop, you decide:
- He averaged around 4 to 5 hours of sleep a night
- In some of the states he had to accomplish all 3 components of the triathlon in a gym due to weather
- He feel asleep on his bike and wrecked
- His feet were often torn up and bloody
- He had flat tires
- He was stopped by the police
You can clearly see that most people would have allowed any one of these cause them to stop but James did not. He was focused on execution. He knew that what he was doing was helping to inspire others in so many different ways. I love hearing him talk about how there was almost a reciprocal motivation happening with each race. He was inspiring others to come out and not only support him but join him and as people came out, he was motivated to keep going.
I have learned so much from watching and talking with James. I have seen first hand how his ability to maintain focus on execution instead of finding excuses makes all the difference in the world. Amazing things can happen when we commit to our goals which is just one reason James is not just a great leader but what I would call a Hero Leader.
His continued focus on execution is evident as he continues to inspire others every day. He will be the first to tell you that there is no such thing as a good excuse, it is still an excuse. He will then say something to the effect of, set a goal and then do whatever it takes to achieve that goal, otherwise, execute.
If you would like to learn more about James “The Iron Cowboy” Lawrence, check out the links below.
I am honored to call him a friend and a great example of a Hero Leader.
Thanks James for being a
With 2015 coming to a close and 2016 getting ready to make its presence known it is time for some reflection. Whether you have done this before or have only ever actually thought about doing it, taking some time to reflect can have a number of great benefits. There are numerous ways to reflect upon the year that was but I would like to share one way that you may find useful. It’s all about focusing on what you learned.
See, we may be able to quickly reflect about what happened in 2015 by thinking of key experiences that took place. We may simply think about them for a minute then move on to the next experience. Although this is a good start, what if you took some quality time to really ponder what you learned from those key experiences? Two very important things happen, first you document what you have learned which helps to reinforce those items and second, you now have the opportunity to set some solid goals for 2016 based on those learning’s.
Click on the image below to see a helpful tool I created. You can recreate this tool any way you want; this is just a simple example.
As you can see with this example, based on a Key Learning from 2015 I was able to establish a goal for 2016. It is important not to overwhelm yourself by listing tons of learnings and/or goals. You may actually go through a couple of iterations to help you narrow down and focus on those experiences that provided the greatest learnings for you. Then you can dial in on the 1 to 3 goals for 2016.
Leaders have the ability to learn from every experience. The best leaders have the ability to take those learning’s and make both themselves and those they lead better. Ironically, heroes are those that are always learning from their experiences, it makes them more effective in the future as they are in situations that require them to act and react quickly.
You are a hero and a leader. I have said it before but you don’t need a title to be a leader and most people will not be called a hero even though do heroic things. There are people around you watching what you do and what you say whether you notice it or not. You have the ability to make a positive impact every day on others. I hope you will take some time to identify what you learned in 2015 to make 2016 even better.
Here is to each of you, my heroes, to an awesome and successful 2016.