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What Do Excuses Cost You?

When I worked in retail at Nordstrom, many years ago, their employee policy was to hold a yearly review.  I had never had a review before and was scared when I had to meet with my manager.

She told me I was great with the customers. She then informed me that I was arriving late for work and that it would be a problem if I continued to do so.

Good news, bad news. When I offered a few reasons why I was late, she shot them down quickly and told me, “no excuses.”

I defended, she parried. I tried again. Same thing. Then … I got it.

No more excuses.

From her, I learned I was responsible for getting myself to work on time.  It did not matter that I was a single mom.  It did not matter if I had to take a bus.  Nothing mattered, but my clocking in on time.  No matter what. Period. And moreover, I needed to get to work on time with a good attitude and ready to contribute all I could.

What she did for me is called constructive criticism and was designed to help me develop better habits.

Because of those lessons, being on time is a part of my work ethic today. It prepared me to work independently so I could handle my own work schedule when I left retail and stepped up into a career as a sales rep and did not have to report to anyone. I made all my calls and then an extra one.  When I moved into owning my own business it laid the foundation for me to work from home where I not only handle my own schedule but had to teach time management to others.

Funny how those early lessons have long-term benefits.

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