People in trouble usually try to find any excuse to justify their status. It’s quite a normal way to react, but it’s also one of the most pointless and unprofitable behaviours ever.

There could be many meaningful reasons why that trouble pointed out and it is important to understand the main impacting ones, both in the bright and dark side.

However, when people start to justify themselves those meaningful reasons take a back seat, leaving the stage to a huge amount of giddy excuses.

There is a substantial difference between a good retrospective, which helps look back at events that took place in the past, and a bad retrospective, which focus on defending positions and status at personal level only.

People through the first one can develop a new effective action plan. Through the second one, they can alleviate judgement only (their own one mainly).

The way people react to a demanding situation makes the difference in their long last success. People would positively moving the situation forward need to react strategically and making excuses is not strategic at all. It’s just an expression of personal fears.

People usually look for excuses when their reputation could be threatened, when they are ashamed of the outcome, when they have not predicted such consequences, when they would avoid to take their own responsibilities or when they feel themselves in a corner because of other people’s judgement.

There could be many reasons why, but the lowest common denominator is the people’s fear to show any possible weakness.

Unfortunately, their stakeholders appreciate more their positive will to find out a new solution, than their stubbornness in defending the past actions.

To admit a mistake is not the end of the world, especially if you have a good action plan to make up for that mistake!

If you did your best, you shouldn’t be scared. Whether the outcome will be positive or negative, you will be OK.

Don’t judge yourself, but learn every day from your experience, being the best that you can be, picking yourself up and moving on.

Any action is always better than no action, especially if you have been stuck in an unhappy situation for a long time.

As B.F. Skinner, an American psychologist, said: “A failure is not always a mistake, it may simply be the best one can do under the circumstances. The real mistake is to stop trying.”

Remind, people can’t learn anything from being perfect.

So, don’t weight yourself down with unlikely excuses and let’s focus on your next action step!


Enza Artino,
International Service Manager c/o Wyser; Coaching Competence Center Manager c/o Gi Group