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There are times when I probably get under some people’s skin with my direct approach but I don’t apologize and I can tell you why. In my lifetime, I owned my life. Whether it was good decisions or bad; I have owned all of them. Anyone that knows me will attest to that personality trait…..Blunt but truthful. I say this to explain the title of this blog, EXCUSES ARE NOT TO BE RECYCLED. This topic can be life changing and I want to share with you a key to a good life.

I am not wise but I am Life Experienced. In life, many events and jobs have instilled in me that it is best to own your life and not excuse your actions. Sometimes, it may be necessary to explain your actions or apologize for them as well but never should you excuse your actions. How many of you remember Steve Urkel in Family Matters played by Jaleel Ahmad White? He would look bewildered and say “Did I do that?” All of us laughed and even though we laughed each time, did you ever wonder would it have been as funny if he had said, “Yes, I did that”?  A comedic situation is the only time I give approval for the excuse statements.

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To kick this thought process, I found an article and have posted an excerpt for handling mistakes by being assertive. I thought this a good way to use a business example but apply the same methods to our personal lives. Different situations but similar solutions can be resolved in the same way:

Managing Mistakes By Being Assertive

A guest post by Jo Pogson .

So this week I’m (mostly) handing over my blog to Jo. First, she gives an excellent explanation of assertiveness in term of our rights and responsibilities in a relationship. Followed by a superb tip in how to be assertive when the worst happens and the person you have referred makes a mistake with your client.

I know my rights! You have the right to remain Silent! Yes, we do. We have lots of rights, legal, moral, ethical. Assertive rights are the ones that give us the right to:

  • be treated with respect

  • express opinions and feelings

  • set goals and objectives

  • refuse a request or say ‘no’

  • ask for what you want

  • make mistakes

  • be the judge of your own behaviour independent of the goodwill of others

  • change your mind

  • decide whether or not to assert yourself

  • state your limits and expectations

  • make a statement not based on logic or rationality

  • make your own decisions

  • be independent of the company of others and enjoy ‘me’ time

  • get involved in the problems or affairs of another or not

  • be ignorant and not understand

  • be successful

  • say ‘I don’t know’

  • ask for clarification when you don’t understand

Dame Rennie Fritchie defines assertiveness as “Standing up for your rights without violating the rights of others“.

Then these rights suddenly take a new importance. They are the heart of assertiveness. And how good are we at asserting these rights, taking them for ourselves and using them? How good are we at not asserting them? And when we think on to the rights of others, how good are we at allowing, even encouraging, others to assert their rights? Are we perhaps good at violating the rights of others after all?

And if we are to really embrace these rights, does that mean we have the right to just make all the mistakes we want, without a care in the world? What if those mistakes hurt someone else? What if, by making a mistake, we disrespect someone else? Now it’s getting complicated. Either we have the right or we don’t. Which is it?

Like most things in life if we’re going to take our assertive rights, we also sign up to do it in a responsible way. So thinking about the right to make mistakes, the way to assert that right with responsibility is to only make ‘honest’ mistakes, not deliberate ones; to own up to our mistakes; to fix mistakes that have been made; to appreciate others will also make mistakes (not violate their right to make mistakes); to learn from mistakes and help others do the same.

So to summarise: Rights are an integral part of being assertive. It can be easy to deprive ourselves and others of those rights. True assertiveness is being responsible with our rights.

Now a question that troubles a lot of business people I meet is a fear that once you’ve referred someone, they then make a mistake and compromise your relationship with your client and them. So I asked Jo for her thoughts on how to manage that situation.

Her response is in the context of honouring all your rights and the rights of the other two people involved.

The best course of action when managing the situation might depend on the specifics of who and what, but as a generic suggestion.

Rennie Fritchie’s definition goes on to say “assertiveness is open, honest and direct communication“. So my starting point would probably be to apply the ‘making a mistake’ responsibilities in an open, honest and direct way by owning up, apologising and asking how you can help to fix it.

Being honest means be honest about what is relevant. If it’s not relevant, don’t say it (even if it is honest). I think this works for all three people involved. It’s worth remembering that we all engage in a referral relationship at some time from each of the three positions.

Some suggestions from each position if client/suppler relationship cannot be repaired,

  • As the person who referred – “I’m not sure this relationship is going to deliver what we had both hoped. I’d like to reconsider and, with your permission, recommend someone else.

  • As the referred person – “I’m not sure that what I can offer is going to deliver what we both had in mind. I’d like to suggest our introducer finds you someone else.

  • As the client – “I don’t think that you (or your recommendation) are able to deliver what I had hoped for. I want to reconsider and seek an alternative.

I would recommend finding the words that feel right for you so that what you say is both personal and sincere and then try them out with someone outside of the situation. That way you can rehearse the words in a safe way, with safe people before you have to use it in earnest.

Whatever happens long term in that particular suite of relationships, being assertive in this manner does mean that you can, at the very least, feel comfortable when you bump into each other again, as inevitably happens, when you are engaged in the same business community.

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I appreciate the statement of “finding the words that feel right for you so that what you say is both personal and sincere and then try them out with someone outside the situation.”

I find being myself and understanding that my blunt way may be misconstrued at times but it would not work if I tried to EXCUSE my actions. I ADMIT I am blunt, straightforward, direct, etc. but I don’t try to say, “I don’t know why I said that” or other lame excuses. I may say there are times I say something in an effort to help or support another person and it may appear as criticism to that person and it gets lost in translation.

Make an EXCUSE disposable and throw them away and GET REAL today.

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LIVE LIFE, LOVE LIFE, AND LIVE LIFE TO THE FULLEST by owning your life with the good and the bad, but be a Real Person without excuses.

(C) Copyright 2012-2018 Arline Miller with all rights and privileges reserved. Third party material will be sourced, if known, to original location.

Author: sippingcupsofinspiration

A blogger since 2012, a published author of three Five Star romance novels, A MISTRESS, A WIFE and TELL ME LIES; LOVE ME STILL and RIDDLE ME THIS, LOVE OR BLISS. Still a small town girl with a lot of experience of people watching. Ten years of blogging experience.


  1. As the blogger of Sipping Cups of Inspiration, I am happy to announce this post is the 1000th post on Sipping Cups. It has been in existence since 2012 and I would like to thank each and every reader from the beginning and especially those who have posted a comment or shared a blog post. You are greatly appreciated. Thanks highly, Arline Miller, blogger and author.

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