It's a tough one to stick to because life happens and sometimes you really just need to make an excuse, so it's definitely a challenge. It was especially challenging this past August when my mom unexpectedly passed away. She had been living with my husband and I for the last few years when her ability to live alone had become a challenge and she enjoyed having us around to keep her company.
When it rains, it pours.
We're all familiar with this quote and you've probably used it when one thing after another goes wrong. I know I sure do. And boy did I in July and August. In July my mom ended up in the hospital and had to have her appendix removed. It should have been a short stay type of thing, but she wasn't doing really well, and eventually ended up being transferred to a short-term care facility much like a nursing home. This was right before my husband and I were to take a two week vacation out to Colorado to visit my brother, sister-in-law and two nieces and do lots of mountain biking. My mom had been insisting, before she ended up in the hospital, that she would stay home alone (the neighbor and some friends of mine were going to pop in and check on her) and care for the cats, dog and bird. So, just to make this brief, here is a list of all the things that went wrong from right before we went out of town until about three weeks after we returned.
- Mom ends up in hospital and has surgery
- Mom gets transferred to care facility just days before we leave
- We have to find a house/pet sitter
- Some of the electricity quits working in the basement
- The air conditioner quits
- The hot water heater quit
- I get piriformis (Google it) and can't sit, stand or lie down comfortably (but I could ride my bike!)
- My business coaching gig at the University of Tennessee begins for the fall semester
- I have meetings to attend as co-chair for Fantasy of Trees (a huge fundraiser for East Tennessee Children's Hospital)
- We have photography jobs
- My mom passes away
- We have a bunch more photography jobs
- I have more Fantasy of Trees meetings
- I lead the meet-up for the local Etsy team
and there are many more things...
The point of the list is not to show you how busy I am, but to point out that I didn't make an excuse because terrible things happened. I'm accountable to my obligations. I'll be honest and say that sometimes I flake out on fun activities with friends, but if it is work-related or has to do with a an activity I have an obligation to, I am committed. This is probably why I get annoyed when I hear people give lame excuses about why they haven't gotten their Etsy shop up and running or their social media accounts set up. The passing of a parent is certainly good cause for excuses, but I couldn't not show up for the events I was being counted on to attend to.
These setbacks helped me grow. I had to shift the way I was thinking and change my attitudes in order to keep my businesses moving forward and handle all of the challenges. It was not easy!
My challenge to you as creative entrepreneurs is to think long and hard before giving an excuse when you are faced with a setback. Is it a valid excuse? Is it a valid setback? What are the repercussions of making the excuse? Will this setback potentially (or definitely) cost me money or customers? Will I be letting someone down who really needs me or my help? If you can't come up with solid, valid reasoning, then think about what the real reason is you are making an excuse. Is the setback real and justified? Is it just something you don't want to do? Does it not bring you joy or make you happy? Those are things you can fix by just not doing them any more. Is that coffee meet-up not engaging you with the right people? Quit going! Is that client demanding too much time that they won't pay for? Fire them!
Stop making excuses and focusing on the setbacks and start living the life you want to live. Just remember, it is totally OK to take a few days to yourself if you do lose a parent or loved one. I really was glad I had so many distractions at the time of my mom's passing, but if I hadn't I would have taken a few days off. Please don't think I want you to be like me. Because that's just plan crazy. Let me know what your thoughts are on making excuses and dealing with setbacks. I'm curious if I'm alone in my feelings on the subject. And I do realize I got a little off-track with the whole excuse thing, but it's such a common problem I see creatives making. I should also point out that one of my other core principles is not to complain and I'm obviously still working hard on that one!
On another note, it's a new year and I'm getting back on track with Pink Spark Creative's blogging and newsletter. You can also expect to start seeing some Periscopes and podcasts soon. No excuses! I'm trying to add one new thing to the mix each month so I don't go overboard, so be patient. Oh, and email me if you have any topics you'd like me to cover on Periscope or in a podcast.
For a limited time I am offering FREE 30-minute strategy calls to work through your number one burning issue and give you an action plan to give your creative business an instant spark! This is a great opportunity for us to chat and see if we'd be a fabulous fit to work together. Schedule your strategy call today! I can't wait to ignite your spark!
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