The difference between excuse and execute

What is the difference between excuse and execute?

execute No Excuses

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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.iron cowboy.JPG

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 nightexcuses
  • 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

resultsYou 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 and IJames. 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

hero [Converted]

Links

http://www.ironcowboy.co/story/

http://www.success.com/article/the-most-enduring-man-in-the-world

http://www.foxnews.com/health/2015/12/28/triathlete-completes-50-straight-ironman-races.html

http://www.esquire.com/sports/a40363/the-iron-man-james-lawrence/

Own It

What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the statement “Own It”? Some may quickly think of key words such as accountability, responsibility, acknowledge, admit, have, obtain and other words. Others may think of a situation that reminds them about a time they were able to “Own It”; maybe it was a presentation and they owned it ( it being, they had a killer opening, the presentation flowed, questions were answered, the audience was engaged), maybe it was the lead in a play at a school and they performed to perfection because they owned it (it being, delivering lines, facial expressions, placement on stage, support for others), maybe it was being the leader of a key project at work and goals were achieved because the leader owned it (it being, the project, goals, milestones, actions, tasks, people). The truth is, success as a leader is all about this concept of “Owning It.”

own-itWhat is important to understand is that the key to success is understanding that what changes is the “it” part of this concept. See, no matter what the situation is, when it comes to the “own,” the concept is constant and never really changes. Why? Because of those key words mentioned before; accountability, responsibility, acknowledge, admit, have, obtain. As one becomes more aware of how to own they will build their confidence which is so crucial to be successful when the time comes to “own it”.

So how does one go about becoming good at living by this concept of “owning it”? It has been my personal experience that the following items are vital in achieving success with this concept of “owning it”:

Seek Clarity: When expectations, goals, directions are clear, we give ourselves a much greater chance of achieving success. Clarity also brings with it the ability to have confidence in what one is doing and it is this confidence that unlocks the power to “own it”.

Develop a Plan: Once there is clarity, it is now possible to develop a plan. The process of a developing a plan creates the feeling of ownership which is one of the best definitions of “owning it”. When there is a feeling of ownership, there is more commitment to achieve success. It is important that this plan is detailed and covers goals, expectations, actions, tasks, milestones as well as identifies those who you might need to work with.

Execute and Evaluate: No matter how good a plan is, nothing happens until action is taken. When it comes to “owning it” a leader must lead out by executing the plan. As actions are being taken, a leader must be able to effectively evaluate whether the plan is working or not. This evaluation can only take place if there was clarity up front so that an effective plan could be developed.

There are other areas that could be addressed but my goal is to provide more of an introduction into this important leadership concept to “own it”. As one learns how to live and lead by this concept there will be greater feelings of accomplishment, satisfaction and confidence. These are all feelings that we as humans crave on a regular bases so take control of the “it’s” in your life by saying to yourself, I will “own it”.

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Passion vs Paycheck

Given current economic conditions, it’s no surprise that many people are considering returning to college or a change in careers. AsPassion vs Paycheck some who has spent the past 13 plus years in higher education, I naturally endorse this strategy of looking to return to school or wanting to go into a career you are passionate about. The issue becomes the inability to focus on the right things to achieve ones ultimate goals, doing what they are passionate about. Here are some steps to take to help ensure you chase your Passion not just a Paycheck.

  1. The first thing to do is spend more time thinking about your interests than you do thinking about money. That sounds counter-intuitive  but returning to college or changing your job has to be about more than chasing a paycheck. It’s been said that if you love what you do, you will never work a day in your life. So finding and following your passion is time well spent.
  2. If you are not sure where your passion would take you let alone what it may be, then sit down with pen and paper and make a list: things you like to do in your free time, different talents or skills that come easily to you, people whom you admire, subject areas and classes you enjoyed while growing up, topics you relish reading about and people you prefer to be around. The answers you provide to these questions will sharpen your focus. 
  3. After you have identified a career path that not only uses some of your strengths but one that also engages you in the type of activity and thinking that you most enjoy, meet and interview people currently working in that field. In some cases, they may let you shadow someone in their office. As you evaluate your options, consider both the positive and the less attractive aspects of the desired industry. For instance, if you like helping people, you might be inclined toward healthcare; but think about how you will respond to sick or sad people on a daily basis.
  4. It’s important to determine what you are willing to sacrifice in order to do what you are passionate about. So ask yourself: can I devote the time and energy necessary to be a successful?  Will I set priorities, budget my time and money and impose discipline in my life? Once you have decided what you are willing to sacrifice, time to create your plan.
  5. Don’t let any opportunity slip away where you don’t set goals for yourself. This is especially true as you are looking to make changes in your career future. Your goals should lead you down a path where you are following your passion. The longer you chase a paycheck, the less time you have to do what you really want. Money is important and needs to always be a apart of your formula for success but don’t to get caught up making it the only focus.

As you stay focused and determined, you will achieve the success you truly dream of. It will not be easy and the reality is, it shouldn’t be. You want to feel rewarded and accomplished. This can happen with greater peace, happiness and joy as you are allowing yourself to do what you feel you can do best and are most passionate about.

Now, go make something great happen!