One of the key things I tell my clients time and time again is that the difference between successful people and those that are “failures” is that successful people do not believe their own excuses. They just don’t believe them.

As I write this article, I have just finished training 5 people as NLP4Kids practitioners. They are licensees of NLP4Kids and will be using the tools and techniques in one to one therapy and in workshops.

During the end of the session today, I talked a bit about how I came to be where I am now.

You see it’s not about where you start your journey, it’s about the paths that you chose tot take from that point onwards. It’s about where you chose to make your journey go next.

I know so many people, close people, who have had a hard start in life. Who grew up poor, under privileged, abused and all sorts of other horrors. None of those horrors are happening now, yet they still use the poor start in life as a reason to under achieve now. They say that the bad start they had then, is the reason why they are not successful now.

I think it’s all about psychology. I didn’t get the best possible start, and yet I say that is the reason I am where I am now. That those “horrors” gave me the incentive to achieve. I’m actually grateful for them in a bizarre way as it’s added to my life experience, it gives me empathy for others and I’m incredibly driven by people saying “You can’t do that.”

I don’t believe them when they use those words on me. I set myself up on a mission to prove them wrong.

When I went to college someone said ( more than once) “I don’t know why you’re bothering, you’ll only end up cleaning council toilets.” I left college with one of the best portfolios in the nation the year that I qualified. I also achieved an award for excellence for my endeavours on that course.

I recently did a session with a child in child they talked about some poor teaching they had experienced at school that resulted in the teacher getting sacked. At first I thought “How did we end up having this conversation?! How am I going to reframe this into something positive?!”

Then I pointed it that this child was just 12 years old and that already he could see this behaviour from his teacher was wrong. I said it shows already that he has higher standards than that teacher. At such a young age, he can already see what’s right and what’s wrong.

Then I remembered, that despite the difficulties I’ve encountered along the way from where I started to where I am now, I’ve just not accepted the excuses or the poor standards for myself. I’ve always believed that there’s a better way (as many I’m sure do) but more than that, I’ve maintained the belief that I have a right to experience that better way, despite where the journey began.

5 Replies to “Using Failure As An Excuse”

  1. Hi Gemma

    As one of your newly qualified NLP4Kids Practitioners (and very proud to be one!) I was extremely moved when you told the story of your journey. I had some very dark periods growing up and never in a million years did I think I would end up where I am now. I was once told that I had a 75% chance of becoming a delinquent, a drug addict or an alcoholic. That determination to succeed (and prove people wrong) enabled me to be part of the 25% positive category. One of my dad’s aspirations for me was to become a page 3 model! Thankfully I was not blessed enough in that department so I had to think about doing something else!!! Setting myself high standards (which were sometimes unrealistic) from the start enabled me to prove my abilities in various fields. Every now and again I do get the inner voice of ‘The Beast’ that tells me that I have no right to be where I am because of my ‘working class’ background and ‘Who do I think I am?’ but I’m able to effectively deal with it. At the end of the day people who want to succeed will find any way possible to do it. There will always be people who will use their background as an excuse not to progress and some I’ve met seem to enjoy living in their bubble of self pity, living in the past. My excuse (every now and again) is confidence (or a lack of) but it’s getting better and I’m a work in progress! 🙂

  2. Gemma
    You have perceptively hit the nail on the head! I reckon the challenge is as you say how to reframe those who feel they cannot rise above a disadvantaged start when they consistently want to find justification for their belief. Frequently one reframe just isn’t enough is it? Thanks for an article that has got me thinking though!

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