There is a lot of discussion today about authenticity, about being trustworthy, and about being transparent. As a society, we say we want less ‘spin’, but is this just another case of ‘do as I say, not as I do’?

At the individual level, how does our attitude and our actions affect the relationships we have on a day-to-day basis? Does our behavior match our expectations?

How do you think your behavior affects your credibility?

I’m hosting Live2Lead, a large professional development event this week and have been doing heavy promotion for it through my network. While I’m biased towards action as it relates to professional development and personal growth, I’m not naïve enough to think that everyone believes the same I do; nor do I believe that my event is the only thing that matters on Oct. 9th.

As is the case, I’ve been getting a lot of excuses as to why people aren’t coming. I know sometimes excuses are legitimate and there are things that are more important to you than my event or program. However, some of the many excuses I’ve heard are ridiculous and have me questioning the credibility of those offering them.

Are we being authentic, trustworthy, and transparent when we turn down opportunities or invitations?

Maybe this is harsh, but these are actual excuses:

Excuse #1: I’m in charge of finding and introducing our Rotary speakers each Friday at our meetings so I probably shouldn’t miss the meeting.

I’m a Rotarian, have been for more than 7 years, and I’m very proud to be involved in such a great service organization – and I know how valuable a good program can be for a meeting. Even so, this is a task that can easily be delegated for one week (or all 52 like my club!).

How this affects your credibility (at least with me): You aren’t interested in my event (all good, not everyone is) but you don’t have the confidence to tell me straight up. Can I trust you to be honest and forthcoming with me in the future?

Excuse #2: A very worthy event which I would attend…but my silly company won’t spring for it.

I know what you’re thinking, but no this excuse didn’t come from a Millennial, but rather a business coach. It’s been said…

‘If you’re not willing to bet on yourself, why should anybody else?

If you aren’t willing to invest in yourself, you’ll always be stuck giving bad excuses and wondering ‘What If’.

How this affects your credibility (at least with me): You don’t value yourself enough to invest in yourself and you only want something that will benefit you if someone else is willing to pay. Will you always only look out for yourself in potential future business relationships or future opportunities?

Excuse #3: It’s too far to drive.

This excuse came from a Millennial who would have to drive approximately 45 minutes (each way) on back roads and is part of the leadership team for a local young professional group. While I do my best not to stereotype, the fact a major company beyond this town and the college in the same town are sending team members, makes this excuse look foolish and epitomizes why Millennials have a bad reputation in some professional circles.

How this affects your credibility (at least with me): You’re lazy and lack awareness of the growing world economy where not everything is in the palm of your hands. Not sure you understand the importance of building relationships with people outside of a small circle within a small town. Is building a relationship with you and your organization worth the investment of my time?

When you think about these excuses, what about your own excuses?  

Do we retain our credibility with our excuses, so our relationships can remain intact? Or do we damage our credibility with the excuses we offer?

While I’ve tried to, I always haven’t been; but I am committed to being more intentional as I move forward, because I want to be seen as a an authentic, trustworthy, and transparent business professional.

Will you join me?

PS – Another guy who doesn’t like excuses….Gary V.