I've written several times in the past about the qualities and elements that successful people share, but I think perhaps the most important is their ability to get past excuses.
So many people in life get hung up on excuses -- feeling they can't go out for the better job, start their own business, or take whatever risk because of... whatever it might be.
Excuses are like noses, we all have one. But when you can train yourself to see these flimsy ideas for what they are, and stop treating them as a brick wall in your path, you can move past them towards your own success.
Here are just a few of the excuses I hear most often -- whether from individuals about their own dreams or executives about their company's direction.
1. I don't have the money.
I've heard this at every level, from the bloke who has an idea to start his own business all the way up to the mega-corporations I've consulted with. The point is, you can make this excuse whether you've got one dollar or one million.
The people who get past it, however, are the ones who succeed. They find a way around it. They barter or trade for the services they need. They start a side hustle and save up. They cut their expenses. They find an investor, take out a loan, apply for a grant.
Successful people don't let the lack of any resource (money being just a resource, after all) keep them stuck for long.
2. I don't have the time.
All the most successful people in the world -- Richard Branson, Bill Gates, Oprah -- have the same 24 hours in a day that you do.
Examine closely how you spend your time, and you'll see where your priorities truly lie. There are very few commitments in this life that are truly non-negotiable. Allowing yourself to fall into the trap of the idea that you don't have time to do what you want just shows that you don't want it badly enough.
3. I've never done this before.
There are loads of things you've succeeded at that you'd never done before you tried. You'd never walked before you did, never driven a car before you first got behind the wheel, never had a job before your first one.
Every journey starts with the first step, but you have to take it.
4. I don't have the skills.
I have one word of advice for you: Google.
You can find instructions, how-tos and even books and courses on how to do practically anything on the Internet -- for free. If you still can't find what you need, buy a book. Still struggling? Hire a coach.
You can get a college-level education just from reading the books found in your local library, so throw away the idea that a fancy degree is standing between you and what you want, because it's almost never true.
5. The conditions aren't right.
Waiting for things to be perfect is maybe the worst possible excuse, because things will never be perfect. No one is going to come along with a stopwatch and say, "If you start... NOW! You'll succeed!"
Loads of things were launched at the "wrong" time or before the world was ready. Some of them failed, and some succeeded beyond anybody's wildest dreams. Waiting for the "right conditions" is like the fisherman sitting on the banks, waiting for the fish, but never putting his hook in the water -- that is to say, kind of pointless.
6. _________ says I can't/shouldn't/am not good enough to do this.
Here's the thing: nothing amazing, innovative, revolutionary ever came out of a group consensus. In fact, many of the most truly revolutionary ideas were met with a great deal of hostility and skepticism. That TV thing is just a fad. The Internet will never catch on. Who wants to be on Facebook all day long?
The truth is, people are going to disagree with you. They won't get your vision. They won't believe in you.
Doesn't matter. Only one person needs to believe in what you're doing when you start, and that's you.
7. I don't have anything new.
Some of the most successful businesses out there didn't invent something totally new. Which came first, LivingSocial or Groupon? MySpace came before Facebook.
The point is, you don't have to do something completely new to be successful. Take something that already exists and improve on it, change it, tweak it, turn it around and give it your own spin.
There are millions of books out there, but each one is different. There are thousands of stand-up comics, each with his or her own show. Loads of accountants, software developers, designers, manufacturers.
It's not about how you will be totally new, but how you will be different.
These are just a few of the top excuses I have heard, but they're certainly not the only ones. I'd love to hear from you: What excuses have you heard? Or maybe you have used an excuse that's held you back from success? Please share your thoughts in the comments.