5 Excuses You Make (And 10 Reasons They’re Getting In Your Way)



When was the last time you made an excuse?

Personally, I really hate hearing them. And yes I make them, too. But it isn’t without being fully aware once one escapes my lips – and trying like hell to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

Excuses are like quicksand. The more frequently you make them, the easier and easier it becomes. Until, one day, you don’t even realize you’re making them anymore.

Take a look at 5 common, workplace excuses.

  1. Boss, I’m on my way in right now. Traffic is just really bad.
  2. Sorry I missed the conference call. I had another meeting that ran late.
  3. My apologies for the delay in responding to your email. Your message must have gotten caught in Spam.
  4. Thanks for calling me again, and I’m sorry I didn’t get a chance to return your call just yet. I’ve been so busy.
  5. I meant to follow up with him, but I forgot.

So, how many can you own up to? Even if it’s only one (or yours aren’t on this list), I guarantee that excuses aren’t helping you professionally.


…attempt to justify a fault.

…hide genuine, honest reasons.

…pass blame.

…are easy if you don’t want to be dependable.

…mean more to the giver than receiver.

…make some listeners tune out entirely.

…anger customers.

…mean that something else was more important.

…are a crutch for poor follow-through.

…damage credibility.

Wish you had a better relationship with your coworkers? Or that your boss would give you more responsibility? Or that customers bought from you more often? Or that you’d land that promotion? Stop and take note of the excuses you make.

A few tweaks of your words – and a bit more mindfulness – could be all that is between where you are and where you want to be.


Excuses are like — well, you’ve probably heard the expression. And if you’re like our Director of Customer Experience, you could do without them. Are you prone to making excuses? Do you even notice when you do? Comment below or share with Jennifer directly.

Taking Radical Responsibility

Your alarm didn’t go off. The person in front of you slammed on their brakes. The dry cleaner lost your suit. Your dog ate your presentation notes.

Taking Radical Responsibility

Excuses. We’ve all made them. Heck, you probably even made at least one before lunch today without even realizing it.

Life happens. To all of us. There are plenty of things that come up that are completely and utterly out of our control. The question is, how do you respond?

When it’s with an excuse, chances are you’ll feel better as the focus shifts away from you. And with each excuse, it becomes easier and easier to make them.

Doesn’t sound so bad, right?

Think for a second about the people around you. When your boss shows up late for a meeting, does the traffic he was in make up for the 20 minutes of time you lost in your day? When your coworker doesn’t finish her part of the project because she was feeling “under the weather” the night before, does it make the work you have to make up any less stressful?

Excuses feel fine for those who make them, but they can simultaneously damage credibility, lessen respect, and increase frustration in the eyes of the recipient.

So how can you avoid this? By taking radical responsibility. With radical responsibility, you take responsibility for everything. All of the time. When you’re tired, you take responsibility. When you’re having a rough day, you take responsibility. When you’re happy, you take responsibility just the same.

Here are some examples of taking responsibility to get you started:

  • “This project isn’t quite finished, boss. It’s my fault because _______________. (Yes, you actually give the real reason.) Tomorrow, I will ________ to prevent this from happening again. “
  • “Mr. Customer, I dropped the ball. I’m telling you because I strive to deliver extraordinary service and I’ve fallen short. Here’s what I’m going to do now to earn your trust and appreciation…”
  • Responsibility can simply be self-talk, that ongoing internal conversation that influences how we feel and behave. “This traffic is going to make me late, but probably no more than 15 minutes. I’ll take a quick lunch at my desk instead of going out to eat today to make sure my reports are done on time.”


Where in your day do you need to take radical responsibility? Is it with your team? Is it with your customers?

Shelve the excuses today. Take radical responsibility. And reap the radical rewards.

Every superhero has a support staff – and Captain Reman’s team is no exception. Jennifer Porter (aka “The Woman Behind the Curtain”) steps up this week as your Reman University writer. Questions? Comments? Leave them below or connect with her at jporter@etereman.com.