Recent Blog Articles

Excuses, Excuses: Stock Language

I recently asked a group of my members to define in two sentences what they got out of our work together last year and declare what they want to get out of 2019. Here was one participant’s response: Member: “In 2018, the group taught me how to notice and question behaviors I’d like to change…

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Excuses, Excuses: Does Being the Underdog Serve You?

Playing the underdog is a form of victimhood that forms a noble identity around the delusion of powerlessness and the fear of change. The deflection attracts good-hearted, sincere, hard-working people who truly mean well. However, their relationship to their own power is deeply conflicted. They unconsciously create an external world that matches their anxious inner…

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Getting Beyond Good and Bad

There’s a zen story of an old farmer who worked his crops for many years. One day his horse ran away. Upon hearing the news, his neighbors came to visit. “Such bad luck!” they said, sympathetically. “Maybe,” the farmer replied. The next morning the horse returned, bringing with it three other wild horses. “How wonderful!”…

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excuses socrates

Excuses, Excuses: Socrates and Un-Knowing

This deflection is named after the oft-called “father of western philosophy,” who was killed for how he used not-knowing and powerful questions to expose flaws in people’s perception, reasoning, and values. It won’t surprise you that he’s one of my heroes, and certainly one of my teachers. After you learn to use the Socratic Method,…

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excuses self contradiction

Excuses, Excuses: The Mask of Self-Contradiction

In my series of excuses, today I’ll be talking about Self-Contradiction. It’s a lack of clarity on its surface but often arises from deep-seated commitment issues. Not often used blatantly, this type of deflection may be tricky to spot. The contradictions are sometimes so subtle they require deep listening to detect. Manager: So who’s going…

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excuses laundry list

Excuses, Excuses: Dealing with the Laundry List

“Good morning, I see you’re a bit late. And it looks like you’ve got mustard on your chin.” “I couldn’t get my son out of bed this morning, then there was a huge line at the hot dog stand—when I got mustard on my chin—but the guy didn’t give me the right change, so I…

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Are you Creating False Gratitude?

Greg came to me frustrated. He felt like he was spinning his wheels. He owned a chain of four retail stores and was, by most people’s measure, successful. But he wasn’t fulfilled. His business was profitable, his customers happy, and his employees more engaged than most. “Something just doesn’t feel right,” he told me, “I have so…

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excuses prename

Excuses, Excuses: I Know What You’re Going to Say

In my newsletter this week, I told the story of how the list of excuses came about. (You’re subscribed, right?) I had been working with a management team to increase accountability and responsibility in their company culture, but was hearing excuses left and right from the management themselves. In frustration, I sat down for a…

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