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Successful Entrepreneurs Don't Do This

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I got home for work the other day and sat down with my family for dinner.

"How was your day?" I asked my kids. My kids proceeded to tell me about how their days went. Everything seemed like it was going well.

So, I asked my son, "Did you get to practice lacrosse today?" As a bit of background, my son plays on a highly competitive lacrosse team, and if he doesn't practice enough, he risks losing his position.

"No dad. I didn't have time," he replied.

Now this, unfortunately, is NOT an acceptable answer. In fact, according to Napoleon Hill, author of the famed book, "Think And Grow Rich," what my son gave me was an alibi (or excuse) for not succeeding.

In his final chapter, Hill listed 57 alibis for not succeeding. The list started with the following:

  • IF I didn't have a wife and family . . .
  • IF I had enough "pull" . . .
  • IF I had money . . .
  • IF I had a good education . . .
  • IF I could get a job . . .
  • IF I had good health . . .
  • IF I only had time . . .
  • IF times were better . . .
  • IF other people understood me . . .
  • IF conditions around me were only different . . .
  • IF I could live my life over again . . .
  • IF I did not fear what "THEY" would say . . .
  • IF I had been given a chance . . .
  • IF I now had a chance . . .
  • IF other people didn't "have it in for me" . . .
  • IF nothing happens to stop me . . .
  • IF I were only younger . . .
  • IF I could only do what I want . . .
  • IF I had been born rich . . .

Since I had just finished listening to the book (I constantly listen to books on tape while driving), the alibi "IF I only had time" was fresh in my head.

So, the correct thing to say to my son would have been, "You didn't have time. That's not an excuse. If  you really want to succeed at lacrosse, you would have made time."

But, I didn't say that for one simple reason. And that reason is that my son is just nine years old. He doesn't need that type of aggressive coaching, yet.

But you, each of you reading this today, to you, I will stand by giving you a hard time for making any of these alibis. And as importantly, I hold myself accountable for every time I say I don't have time or "if" this or "if" that.

These "ifs" are unacceptable. If each of us are going to achieve our true potential as entrepreneurs, we need to remove these alibis. We need to envision success, and create business and action plans to achieve it. And we must not stop there. Because our original business and action plans most like will NOT succeed.

Rather, we need to keep assessing our progress and modifying our plans until we achieve success. And never ever, along the way, can we get caught up in alibis. Since these alibis will kill our positive energy. They will take us down the wrong paths. And they will prevent us from achieving our goals.

For my son, I'll give him five more years until I get tougher on him and teach him to stop making alibis. For you and me, let's put our alibis behind us. And focus our energies on achieving massive success. And then, making sure the people we know and love also do the same.

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Samantha Otero says

This is a great entry, and makes a good point. Additionally, I believe that if you phrase it gently enough with love, you can teach children of any age not to use alibis, and the younger you teach them the better they will have the discipline deep down inside of them.
Posted at 5:11 pm
Samantha Otero says

This is a great entry, and makes a good point. Additionally, I believe that if you phrase it gently enough with love, you can teach children of any age not to use alibis, and the younger you teach them the better they will have the discipline deep down inside of them.
Posted at 5:13 pm
Carey says

Hi Dave, I have recently joined your community through buying your business plan template and have found your blogs interesting and knowledgeable. My one point of feedback is many of your blog subjects are titled and based out of the negative "Don't do this or that" It's not very motivating to want to keep reading things not to do. It's more inspiring and compelling if it could be twisted into a positive call to action. The content has been very interesting however and I have gotten something out of your newsletters. Thank you, Carey
Posted at 1:00 pm
John Irvin says

Your son's reply is more a generational reply than an alibi, although it is an alibi in itself. Your son's generation are coached by their environment that it is reasonable to think and act in this manner. My personal belief is that at his age the reward for doing what he is attempting is hard to comprehend as is entrepreneurism in it's early stages for most people. It is only when you begin to become embroiled in the game you realize how demanding it is and find out the truth about your dreams especially the discipline, dedication and skills it requires along with what you have to give up to be successful. Kids have a lot to consider these days compared with people who started with less choice. I suspect exposure at an early age is the key to latter quality decision making. Enjoyed your post.
Posted at 6:21 pm

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