“I attribute my success to this” Florence Nightingale

Florence Nightingale, the English pioneer of modern nursing is quoted as saying, “I attribute my success to this: I never gave or took an excuse.”

Particularly in this day and time, we hear and see excuses by the thousands… all day long, each and every day.  Emails, voice mails, texts, twitter, videos, phone calls, face-to-face conversations, interviews, TV, radio, and throughout all communication and media channels, there are millions of excuses offered each and every day.

We all come up short.  We all fail from time to time (if not, our goals and aspirations are too low).  We all miss some of our targets.  We all disappoint.  We all have room for improvement in each and every area of our personal and professional lives.  No one is perfect, including you… and for sure, me!

Florence Nightingale was referring to personal accountability.  Proactively seeking and accepting personal accountability in all areas of our lives.

An excuse need not be negative if it is the truth and if is not used to deflect or avoid personal responsibility and accountability.

  • The alarm clock did not go off (for whatever reason), I over slept and I am late.
  • I was on another call and I forgot our phone appointment.
  • I have been very busy and I missed the deadline.
  • I have been focused on other goals and did not meet, much less exceed this goal.
  • Bottom line, I did not meet this objective.  I failed to accomplish what I promised within the timeframes I promised.
  • I did not meet revenue projections.
  • I did not achieve projected cost reductions.

There are dozens of “excuses” for every personal and professional situation.  Anyone can make excuses… and unfortunately many people do.  The important question is this; do you proactively seek and accept personal accountability in all areas of your life?  If the answer is yes, like Florence Nightingale, you will never be perfect.  However, you will learn from events, opportunities and failures and you will achieve far more of your goals and dreams because you proactively seek and accept responsibility and accountability.

A very worthwhile goal for 2011, for the next five years, and for the rest of your life would be as follows:

I will live my life such that at the end of each day, each week and each year, I will reflect back with honesty and integrity and say, “I attribute my success to this: I did not invent excuses or blame others… I proactively sought and accepted personal and professional responsibility and accountability.”   

If it’s to be, it’s up to me… and you!!


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I am a leader, speaker, and author who is passionate about Leadership Excellence and Achieiving Greater Success. I am the author of the books Be An Inspirational Leader(2016) and Presidential Leadership (2013), and deliver keynote presentations on those topics and several others.

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