The Rocking Horse Syndrome Is Ruining Business

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rocking horse

With all of the “I’m so busy”, “Look how BUSY I am”, and other I-work-harder-than-you-do speak running rampant around business circles these days, I thought it would be important to talk about “busy” and the Rocking Horse Syndrome.

“Do not confuse motion and progress, A rocking horse keeps moving but does not make any progress.” ~Alfred A. Montapert

The Rocking Horse Syndrome

I got a newsletter from a sales trainer the other day that opened with an apology for not sending out the newsletter the week prior, even though she wrote, “it’s important to me to communicate with you each week.”

She then went on to talk about her busy life and her recent weight loss.

As I’m reading, I feel utter annoyance rise in my belly.

Am I the only one that sees an issue with claiming to be busy? The only one who thinks missing commitments is the bane of business?

rocking horse

My View On Commitments

I’m going to get personal here for a second. The man that I call my father is actually my step-father. He, never being married, decided to make the commitment to marry my mother, who had two young children (one of whom is terminally ill).

Being a devout Catholic, I’m sure his family offered more than a few raised eyebrows when he made this monumental decision to marry a divorced woman and instantly have a family. A family that would prove to be a serious undertaking.

And over the years — even with my utter rebellion, and my sister’s constant need for care — he kept his promises. He gave EVERYTHING to be my mom’s husband, and to be a father to us. It took me nearly 10 years to fully comprehend that kind of duty.

Mike taught me so many lessons about trust and commitment, but the one that sticks out the most is a quote he’s famous for saying:

“Excuses are like assholes. Everyone has one, and they all STINK!”

Motion Doesn’t Equal Progress

So going back to the I-am-WAY-too-busy-to-communicate-with-you-even-though-it-means-a-lot-to-me-to-communicate-with-you sales trainer … just because you’re not able to successfully manage your time doesn’t mean you’re busier than your readers. And certainly doesn’t give you the right to waste their time with stories about YOU.

It’s clear this woman doesn’t know what it means to be committed to her communities.

Commitment takes a promise and makes it a reality. It’s the intent in actions (which we all know speak louder than words). Commitment speaks to our character; it’s the definition of integrity and defies deception.

As some of you know, we had to let our Communication Strategist go several months ago. For about four months I had to pick up the slack, and worked tirelessly seven days a week; not one day off.

Did I postpone one blog post? Did I skip any newsletters? Did I tell stories about my oh-so-busy life to make excuses for not delivering value seven days a week to my communities and the communities of my clients?


Because what matters more to me than my “crazy pants” schedule is that of my readers and would-be customers. I know you guys are out there working your butts off to make ends meet.

I also know that if I don’t keep my commitment to be a thought leader, a blogger, a deliverer of tips and tricks, a CMGR, a marketer, and someone who goes above and beyond to surprise and delight you … that I’d be no one.


Take Your ‘Busy’ And Shove It

We’re ALL busy. We ALL have the same 24 hours in a day. Prioritizing and making commitments isn’t that hard; you can’t manage time, you can only manage yourself.

What really boggles my mind are the people out there doing exactly what I do AND going to school, AND raising kids, AND taking care of a sick loved one.

I beg you to rethink letting commitments lag, or lamenting all over creation about how “busy” you are. Have a little self awareness and try to understand that most of us are out there working very hard at making a living, building a business, and being the best we can be.

If you can’t get your shiz together, get organized, and make progress, at least stop making it so obvious by telling us about how busy you are.

See you in the social sphere!


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Brooke B. Sellas is an award-winning Customer Marketing Strategist and the CEO & Founder of B Squared Media. Her book, Conversations That Connect has been recognized nationally and is required reading for a Customer Experience class at NSU. Brooke's influence in digital marketing is not just about her accomplishments but also about her unwavering commitment to elevating the industry standard of digital customer experience and customer marketing.
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Category: Business, Business 101, Marketing, Sales,
Tags: commitment, personal branding, Strategy
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15 Comments. Leave new

  • Great article, Brooke. We are all busy and complaining about it or using it as an excuse can definitely turn people off. Mike sounds like a wonderful man and father.

    • Thank you, Robin! I just felt the need to rant a little about all of this “busy” talk. We’re ALL busy!!!!
      And yes, Mike is the most wonderful father anyone could hope for. He’s taught me so much about life and business – I really appreciate him (now … haha!).

  • Very well said! I admit I have used the word busy in a few emails. But usually I use words like slammed, or the day got away from me, etc. We are all human we are going to miss some things, or drop the ball. But I do agree with the going above and beyond, if I have missed something you had better bet I am going to come back and get your answers quickly and efficiently. Could be the OCD and type A personality in me though…darn genetics.
    Laurie recently posted…Come Together-Week FourMy Profile

    • Well, that’s just it, Laurie, we (most of us) ARE busy. So of course we’ll have to say things like, “I can’t get that to you now, but how about tomorrow at 12PM?” And then DO THAT.

      The difference is making a commitment to what you can do and then sticking to it. I don’t mean you have to say YES! to everything, or drop what you’re doing to take a last-minute request … but things like newsletters, blogs, meetings, and other “set-in-stone commitments” should be taken seriously. Busy is not an excuse for missing those type of things (in my opinion).

      Thanks so much for reading and weighing in with your thoughts today!

  • I have something to say about this…I “LURVEd” it!!! I also like what your step-father would say about excuses! 😉 I so agree.

    True, from time-to-time things happen and we have unexpected events. That’s understandable. There are way too many people with “excuses” out there, when what it really comes down to is “priorities.”

    Thanks for saying what needed to be said, Brooke!
    Jennifer G. Hanford recently posted…Reasons I Will Stop Following Your B2B On Social MediaMy Profile

    • Thanks, Jenn! Haha … what’s SO funny is that I used to just roll my eyes at that quote and my Dad – who knew it would come full circle for me and my business much later down the road!

      Priorities. Yes! You nailed it. You either care enough to make it happen or you don’t (busy or not!).

  • Brooke, I LOVE this post – it’s sooo ending up on next week’s Top 5!
    You perfectly summed up what I so often want to say. When people realize how much I do everyday (yes, I work a full time day job completely unrelated to Jenn’s Trends and manage the upstart social media and marketing for a soon-to-be-launched online site plus writing 3 or more blog posts a week) I often get the “how do you do it all?” question. They complain about how busy they are and how they can barely do what they need to.
    But like you, I love my crazy-ass busy world. It’s my passion and I dedicate my time accordingly to get it all done. Yes, I might be tired. You probably are too. But if I’ve committed to something I’ll make damn sure it gets done.
    And I love the story of your family. I had no idea but I respect you even more now! Thanks for sharing 🙂
    Jenn Herman recently posted…How To Avoid Writing Crappy Blog TitlesMy Profile

    • Thank you so much, Jenn! WOW – you are a busy bee, too (and yet, I’ve never heard you complain about how much you have to do!). People just don’t know what it means to make a commitment today. You’re in or you’re out. Period.

      I love it, too. Busy means I’m working, which means I’m making money, which means I’m paying my bills, which means I’m living this life I’ve built (and am still building) for myself. Busy is a GOOD thing in my book and it’s certainly not something we should ever compare or pretend to think we’re so much busier than someone else. I think that’s totally RUDE!

      Thank you SO SO much for stopping by and sharing this on LI and G+ – can’t wait to make the top 5 list again! 🙂

  • Avatar
    Veronica Solorzano Athanasiou
    October 24, 2013 9:59 AM

    Hi Brooke. You’ve got plenty of feedback here but I had to let you know how much I agree with you on the ‘busy’ excuse and admire you for acknowledging your father’s wisdom – so many years later….
    I hope to have an impact in my children like that. Strong expressions definitely make an impression and I’ve just used a couple with my pre-teen second born 😉
    I think I got that e-mail too and I feel exactly the same way. I feel like replying: ‘Who cares? I wouldn’t have noticed that you missed your week anyway!!’ – or something like that.
    I think with newsletters or even blog articles on our own blogs we shouldn’t apologise for delays. Just deliver whenever possible. If you’re ill or ‘busy’ the recipients don’t have to know. They don’t really care, I think.
    Thanks for sharing and bringing your readers closer to Brooke the Person – with much integrity shining through.

    PS: Enjoy the journey while at it and include lots of pampering in your program too. You deserve it!

    • Hi, Veronica! Thanks so much for your feedback. My father is one of those guys who is strong and silent … he doesn’t say much, but when he does we all sit up and listen. I’m sure his quote may come across a little stern, but it really hits home. He wanted to tell us at an early age that we shouldn’t rely on crutches and excuses and should take responsibility for the times we fail to deliver on our promises. That life lesson has followed me to business and means SO SO much both professionally and personally.

      I’m glad you saw me trying to give a glimpse of my personal side. It’s important for people to know me for who I am – not just as the “Brooke” that’s online. I strive to be as real as possible in real life and online and in EVERYTHING I do! Transparency is important to me!

      Thanks again for your wisdom – I always love our online chats! 🙂

  • Oh Brooke I LOVE this! When I first started out, I felt guilty for not getting an email or blog post out and would apologize with the “busy” thing. I quickly learned that people didn’t care. If I skip a post or email because life happened, I just pick up where I left off – no lame apologies or excuses. We are all busy and do not have time for excuses. I love what your dad said about them – they do all stink! The true professionals just suck it up and keep trucking without asking for pity. Lord knows with a business & 2 kids I am as busy as the next person but you won’t ever see me complaining about it! I’m BLESSED to be busy – it means business is thriving 🙂 Definitely sharing this post!

    • Thanks, Mandy! You’re exactly the situation I was referring to … to do what you do AND raise two, young children is extremely commendable. I’m sure you ARE busy – and I appreciate the fact that I’ve never seen you use it as an excuse.

      We are all busy in our own way. And it REALLY chaps my hide when people claim “busy” are are just confusing motion with progress. Just because you’ve over scheduled yourself (AGAIN) doesn’t mean you can lament about it to your audience(s). They don’t care. Learn to manage yourself and your time better and get on with it!

  • The Rocking Horse Syndrome Is Ruining Business
    October 30, 2013 12:05 AM

    […] post The Rocking Horse Syndrome Is Ruining Business appeared first on B Squared Media // B² […]

  • Hey Brooke,

    So this is my first visit to your blog and I’m here because we’re in a tribe together on Triberr. I saw your headline and a comment so I bookmarked it to read and I’m SO glad I did.

    I sometimes feel guilty because I work from home and can dedicate all my time to my business. I’m not married and I don’t have any children. I have a dog that I care for and an elderly mother that moved next door to me last year. People are always asking me how I’m able to get everything done and that’s because I stay on this computer until it is. Sure, I might not have the other types of commitments other people do and I seriously don’t know how they handle it but one thing I know for sure. If you want something bad enough you’ll figure a way.

    This reminds me sort of the people who are always late and then coming up with excuses. What you’re really saying to me is that I disrespect your time and it’s all about me. Kind of the same thing don’t you think!

    Thanks for putting this out there and I’m glad she ticked you off enough to share your feelings in a post. Bravo Brooke and great read. I’m going to share this one again.

    Hey, have a nice rest of your week okay!


    • Hi Adrienne!

      I know that we followed each other on Twitter recently and I was SO happy to have found you, because you tweet some great tips!

      I have a similar life to yours … only add a boyfriend to the dog. 😉 And yeah, I probably spend a little too much time on this ding dang computer – but I DID make a commitment to start this company and you can bet I’m doing everything in my power to see that through.

      And YES to being late. I used to have an issue with that until I realized it’s so so disrespectful. Now I’m ALWAYS early. It’s just respectful and is a pillar of good business.

      Thank you VERY much for for reading and commenting! I’m really glad you related. 🙂 See you in the social sphere!


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