12 Most Annoying Excuses for Your Mediocrity

03/03/2015 02:30 pm ET | Updated May 03, 2015

"Mediocrity is crowded, but there's a whole lot of room up in excellence." ~ Lisa Nichols

Daggers flew through hundreds of hearts as those words left the lips of the keynote speaker. Many in the audience realized that they lived in crowded quarters. They were used to the familiarity of being ordinary and the sting of those words woke every person up.

People who live extraordinary personal and professional lives do not live in the space of mediocrity. There are phrases that they will never even think to speak.

Here are 12 of them we've all heard before... some of us may have even spoken them. See if anything sounds familiar.

1. I'm not smart enough

We're not all meant to be Einstein. Successful people don't have to be smart. They just have to be smart enough to have smart people around them.

2. I don't have the right degree/title

Hello? Steve Jobs. Richard Branson. Mary Kay Ash. Frank Lloyd Wright (look it up). Not one of these people had a degree in the industries they ruled. It's wonderful if you have a formal background in a particular field. However, a degree doesn't give you permission to excel. You do.

3. I'm broke

Money can make some things easier but it doesn't rule everything. Money can't buy innovation. If you are creative, passionate, and persistent enough, someone else will be willing to invest. Other people's money works just as well as your own... if you have any.

4. I'm too old

"You can't teach an old dog new tricks." Correction. You can't teach uninterested, lazy, complacent dogs new tricks-or scared dogs for that matter. Age should be used for nothing more than record-keeping purposes. People who say this should be old enough to know better.

5. I don't have any connections

In the time of social media, the theory of six degrees has been cut down to two or three. Virtual connections have shown themselves to be just as important as physical ones. Be valuable enough to others and watch the network grow.

6. No one will help me

People who don't receive help are generally the same ones who don't ask for it. Requesting help makes people feel vulnerable which is something many of us don't want to be. Extraordinary people don't worry about how they might look. They just get things done.

7. I don't know how

This is an excuse of the industrial age. These days, we suffer from information overload. If there is something you need to know, the answers are literally at your fingertips. If technology scares you, then ask someone to help you with it. See number 6. (Unfortunately, if technology scares you, this post will never cross your path...)

8. It's too hard

Unwillingness to take on a challenge is the proclamation of the complacent. Living in a box is easy. Conversely, those who strive for excellence see living with constraints as hard. It's all in how you choose to frame it.

9. I haven't done that before

The masses will choose to hide behind the familiar. Innovators thrive off of unfamiliar territory. The willingness to face the unknown will always separate the mediocre from the excellent.

10. I don't have time

Many of us lead busy lives. However, busy does not necessarily translate into productive. Moving into excellence requires that we learn to value our time and engage in activities that reflect that. The bottom line is that we make time for the things we value. If you value success, you will find the time to work towards it.

11. The rules won't let me

Rules are meant to provide guidance. They are not meant to absolve us of common sense, creativity, or vision. If you are in an environment that robs you of these qualities, mediocrity is a given. Excellence can't thrive in these conditions.

12. I'll do it after ___________

Fill in the blank with any of the following: after my kids are grown, after I retire, after I turn X, after I have X amount in the bank. People have all sorts of excuses to delay elevation to the next level. We all know that time is one thing we can't guarantee. Excellence lives in the present, not the future.

Do you hear yourself saying any of these statements? If so, you are limiting your infinite potential. People at the top of their game don't use excuses. Do you?

Where do you spend most of your time? In excellence or in mediocrity?