7 Ways to Increase the Slayer of Excuses: Self-Awareness

While Kristin and I were being interviewed for a print magazine article about the QBQ! book and message of Personal Accountability, the interviewer, Matt, made this comment:

“After reading QBQ!, my wife and I realized we hadn’t taken accountability when having it out with our teen daughter. Both yelling too much, my excuse was my frustration level, and my wife claimed, ‘I’m just excitable!’ Essentially, we were saying we have no control over our behaviors and are not responsible, as if our actions are outside of us.”

It was quite a revelation for Dad and Mom to make. A true discovery. One that showed maturity and … self-awareness. Not many people reach this level of thinking, primarily because excuse-making is just so easy to do.

Consider the personality profiling tools DISC, Myers-Briggs, or the lesser-known yet outstanding tool the Enneagram. When a person* is determined to be a “high D,” “ESTJ” or “Enneagram 8,” the easiest thing to do is excuse profiling results away with, “Well, that’s just who I am!”

Meaning: I have no control over myself and can’t change.

*FYI: Those are my results from the profiling assessments mentioned above. This means I’m naturally inclined to take control, be in charge, assert myself, and dominate others. I could dismiss all my potentially negative behaviors with the excuse, “Hey, that’s me.” Or I can work on myself so as to learn, grow, and change. Of course, that won’t happen until I gain a heavy dose of … self-awareness.

Let’s talk about this familiar concept by first defining it:

“Self-awareness is understanding how well our thoughts, feeling, and actions align with our personal values — and how we are perceived by others. Those who are highly self-aware routinely and metaphorically step outside of themselves to interpret their thinking, emotions, and behaviors objectively.”

Are you there yet? Am I?

Bob Elgin, a longtime QBQ! training client with St. Jude Medical who morphed into a friend once shared this:

“As a 10-year-old, John, I often pictured another me perched high atop my bedroom dresser, looking down, watching, judging what I do, and keeping me in check.”

Sounds a little creepy, but makes sense to a child. Honestly, though, grown-ups could use that sort of self-study and scrutiny. Otherwise, how else can we grow?

Well, here are some ideas!

  1. Read the right books for the right reason: to change ourselves. We suggest these fine reads. 😉
  2. Grant a person at home or work total freedom to boldly speak truth to us without fear of retribution.
  3. Secure an effective counselor (marital, family, individual). They exist.
  4. Hire a coach at work to observe how we work, then listen to what they have to say.
  5. Take a personality profile test or two, reflect on and share the results with others.
  6. Routinely seek “360 feedback,” that is, ask for input from people all around us.
  7. Ask the QBQ (tutorial here), “What can I do to change me for the better?” Always a good <accountable> question. 👏🏻

In the end, discarding the excuses that hold us back by becoming more aware of who we are — and how and why we act — will bring great value to our lives. Promise.

Of our 7 suggestions above, which one do you need to engage in right now?Well, here are some ideas!


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