When you're tired of excuses

Tough love is both tough and loving

It's hard to be tough on the ones we love. It's easy to love the people we're tough on.

I find that work and life often involve having to accept that we're all at different stages of life, of self-awareness, and of our own growth.

Never is it a case of one person is "better" than another. It's more about where we are in our lives, relative to where we want to go. Do people in our lives fall anywhere on the progress line we've set for ourselves? This is often what determines the vibe we feel off other people.

Questions like this pop up a lot:

  • Do they get me?
  • Do we share common goals?
  • Have they been through what I've been through?

The list goes on.

But at some point, especially in business, some people just can't keep up. It's natural. Different priorities are normal, and they often manifest in different paces and levels of care in our work.

So how do we handle this? I've tried a few things:

"What would you do in my position"

This often helps the other side understand what's going on. Bring in the context and let them see where you're coming from. Their reaction will tell you if they're just coming up with excuses or if they're making an effort to really understand where you're coming from.

Kids have to clean up their own mess

My director once spoke these words to me at a previous job and they've really stuck with me.

It's easy to want to spell everything out for someone and then write it up and send it to them in a nice, neat package. The reality is that doing so only reinforces the fact that someone else will clean up their mess.

I made a lot of mistakes throughout my career. Most of them just happened, and couldn't be undone. But there's always a way to make it right. The amount of effort we put into fixing our mistakes is sometimes worth it. The feeling of righting a wrong is unlike any other.

It's true that you can't always right a wrong. Sometimes you just have to accept that what's done is done. No amount of effort can make it for it. We grow around it.

But I think it's wrong to avoid trying to fix it, at least.

Kids have to clean up their own mess, and there's always a way to make steps towards doing so, before resigning to the fact that it's outside of our control.