An illustration of the author wearing a face mask and the text "Black Lives Matter" in a speech bubble

Challenges or Excuses

We all have our own barriers and disadvantages in life that prevent us from achieving something. They could be largely societal, like being a Black woman start-up founder trying to find funding from traditional VCs, or personal, like growing up poor in a single-parent household.
They could be things like trying to manage a team on a shoestring budget, or not knowing how to find more customers, or perhaps it’s starting on a new career late in life.

Regardless, we have the choice to look at these as challenges or as excuses.

Calling them challenges allows us to acknowledge that these things might hold us back, and also recognizes that while they might be unfair, these challenges are barriers that we may be about to out-maneuver, out-think, out-spend, or out-innovate.  They could be the reason that we eventually fail, but we’re still going to try anyway knowing our challenges and will do our best to succeed in spite of or because of them.

Excuses take a passive stance that allow us to hide from ever fully trying our best to overcome them. They become the reason we failed, regardless of any other circumstances that we might have been able to control.  It closes our mind to innovation and experimentation that might lead to a new path forward.

As per usual, the choice of how you want to view your own barriers is just that – a choice.

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