Stop Making Excuses

If there is one thing that drives me crazy it’s all the excuses people make up. Maybe I just notice it more now than I used to, but I’m seeing it everywhere, especially from people in their 20’s and early 30’s. I don’t remember if I was the same way, but I fear I probably was.

There are a lot of people watching and waiting for you to do anything so they can tell you that you’re wrong. You’re not as good as someone else. You’re not as good as the person you replaced. You’re not photogenic. You’re not smart enough. You don’t have the right degree.

I get it, it’s scary. Standing up and saying, “this is me” takes a fair amount of courage. “This is the best I can give you” is a terrifying sentence to say, because we fear that the person we’re saying it to might reply, “it’s not enough.”

Spoiler alert: That person doesn’t matter.

You’re a work in progress, we all are.

My friend Martin Smith has stopped making excuses. Martin is a friend and a mentor, a storyteller and a marketer, a worker and a thinker, but most of all he’s a tugboat.

USS Wasp gets some help steering up the Hudson river from tug Ellen McAllister.Do you remember what a tugboat does? You knew back in 4th grade. It helps push much larger boats when they can’t or shouldn’t move themselves.

That’s what Martin does. He is the catalyst that we so often need in life. He’s the guy that reminds you that you’re a better person than you give yourself credit for. He’s the guy that reminds you just because it hasn’t been done before doesn’t mean it’s not a good idea. He’s the guy that reminds you that the critic is lazy, and we are powerful change agents.

Together, as part of a team, we can make the impossible, possible.

It’s okay if the team is only two. Martin is not afraid to the first guy dancing at the Sasquatch Music Festival.

The question is, who are you? Are you the second guy joining in, the third guy? Sadly, most of us are only joining in when the rest of the crowd joins, when it’s safe. When we no longer have to risk people judging us.

I’m joining Martin now, and I don’t care if you come along or not. I know you don’t have the time. You don’t have the resources. You already have plans. You have to get paid for your expertise, you can’t just give it away. You have kids. You already have a full-time job.

Martin has a full-time job as the marketing director at one of the fastest growing web development firms in the United States. His part-time gig is fighting off cancer with another round of chemotherapy. His third job is donating his salary from his first job to fund his third job – his idea to fund cancer research a la carte style. The third job led to his fourth and fifth jobs like riding his bicycle across the country to raise awareness and money to donate to Duke Cancer Hospital and starting the Cure Cancer Store. Oh, and he also took the time to make sure almost all of this runs under a charitable umbrella called the Story of Cancer.

This isn’t some giant billion dollar non-profit asking you for a $25 donation at Christmas. This is a man who has decided that he would rather spend his third act doing what most of us only dream of doing… something that really matters. Not something that matters to our boss or our kids or our spouse, but something that matters to humanity.

How would you like to be part of the group that funds a researcher who finally isolates the cancer gene?

When they’re writing the story of cancer and how it’s cure came about, would you like to be part of that story? In 2012, the citizens of the United States spent $2,100,000,000 on Easter candy. Can you spare a peep?

Don’t be afraid, click here and join us. Can’t donate time, no problem… you donate money via PayPal.

When the artist Robert Rauschenberg died in 2008, his obituary in the NY Times had a great quote in it:

“Everyone was trying to give up European aesthetics,” he recalled, meaning Picasso, the Surrealists and Matisse. “That was the struggle, and it was reflected in the fear of collectors and critics. John Cage said that fear in life is the fear of change. If I may add to that: nothing can avoid changing. It’s the only thing you can count on. Because life doesn’t have any other possibility, everyone can be measured by his adaptability to change.”


  1. In the past few years I’ve bet on the kindness of strangers a few times. Some of those times weren’t voluntary (lol). There was way more than I could comfortably chew on Martin’s Ride To Cure Cancer, but the kindness of strangers saved the day. Each time I wanted to give up and go home, and that happened a few times, something magical happened to keep us going, to bolster our spirits.

    This note from Phil is both perfectly timed and a true bolster (lol). Phil is no stranger. He is a good friend who I am proud to know and call upon for advice, guidance and service. One thing I’ve learned quickly is some people can embrace change, live with passion and rise to the challenge, some can’t and some will be angry and cruel (about the same % as those who can become true heroes).

    Phil is a hero. He spends most of his day figuring out how to help others. Yesterday was another crazy day as we near launch for the two biggest ideas of my life – (crowdfunding cancer research) and (shop to cure cancer). Once again there is way more to chew than is comfortable.

    Phil is right I learned many valuable lessons riding a bicycle across America. One night after climbing Mt. Baldy I was so tired, so dead to the world I dipping my tired and very sore legs into a beautiful lake on the Nevada California border. It was eight o’clock and my team was in the RV. It felt good to be out half a football field from shore.

    Good until I slipped into the lake. At first I couldn’t climb back on the dock. It just wobbled and complained. The irony of NOT crashing coming down Mt. Baldy at 65 MPH on a bicycle only to drown falling into a lake off a dock motivated me back on the dock. Far from exhausted now I had trouble sleeping that night I had so much energy.

    Thanks to Phil for helping me back on the dock and supplying the energy and love needed to finish this ride. Thanks to Phil for reminding me, at just the right moment, I am NOT alone and that all change comes from movements that start small and gain momentum thanks to the passionate second and third follower. Margret Mead is right. Never doubt that a small group of committed people can change the world. She insists that is the only way change happens and I’m with her, we are with Ms. Mead and that is how we cure cancer in our lifetime.

    You ROCK my friend.


  2. The interesting part of being part of this small movement is, it’s not small. The number of people who have not been impacted by a friend or family member battling cancer is almost zero.

  3. Phil,

    Nice! And you are so right, Phil. Marty is the tugboat, Marty is the first guy dancing. Marty is the man who makes us take a second look in the mirror daily and ask ourselves “what can I do for someone else today?” because you know that Marty will be doing something for others, that’s a given!

    Thank you for taking the time to write this post and pay tribute to one of the most inspiring people I’ve met in my life. Marty’s inspiration has, in my short two years of knowing him, not only touched me but the entire team here at

    In fact, and on a note ( and Marty doesn’t know this part yet) I will launch our ambassador program at in the next couple of weeks and Marty and his heroism was the inspiration behind the naming of the program ” Business Heroes”. Marty is THAT amazing individual in everyone’s community that is heroic in the way he gives until he feels like he is getting while effortlessly balancing the acts of his profession, personal life and cancer to precision.

    He inspired me to look long and hard in our community to find other publishers who care and give to their community as much as Marty does so that these everyday heroes can be recognized for their generosity and kindness as they should be.

    Personally, Marty is the friend who I take home and speak about around our dinner table. He is the friend that our family knows, but has never formally met. He’s the hero who is going to make a difference in anyone’s life who has been touched by cancer, and who will just “make a difference” no matter what.

    I love being a FOM and I’m a better person for knowing him and I’m pretty darn lucky to be dancing with him! In giving we always receive, and Marty does an incredibly great job at inspiring me not to forget this daily.

    • YES! That’s it Kelly, you just wrote the line I missed in my long winded post…

      “He’s the hero who is going to make a difference in anyone’s life who has been touched by cancer, and who will just “make a difference” no matter what.”

      I know you’ve had this happen to you, where you log on and see that Marty has written 16 articles, Scoop’d 23 others, filmed 3 videos and recommended 4 books and 2 podcasts while you were watching Dancing with The Stars, and suddenly you feel like maybe you could jog a little faster to try to keep up.

  4. Hi Phil –
    I’m sorry that I am just now reading this wonderful blog post. Martin – I’ll dance with you anytime. You are a “Hero in my Neighborhood” and I’m proud to support you any way I can. Thanks for writing this post, Phil.

  5. Chris R Anicich says:

    Mr Phillip Buckley

    After your ardent helping hand I decide to visit your site again to see what is behind you the extremely kind person. Needless to say but needs to be said is I found exactly what I thought I would find about my newly befriended peer and a man looking more like a mentor.

    I was involved with the National Field Hockey’s Team for the 1984 Olympic Games. It was their first appearance since 1898. One of the Directors Mr Joe Lewis a Vitamin Pharmaceutical Distributor with offices on West 57th Street in Manhattan introduced me to a close affiliate. A research doctor who wanted me to suggest to Mr David Rockefeller who was considering giving me a donation for the team at his Rockefeller Center offices his newly formed Medical Treatment of Vitamins for the Preventative Cure for Cancer. The Rockefeller Foundations are strong philanthropists for the cure of cancer as you may well know.

    This doctor researcher had an actual treatment of Vitamins for cancer curing and claimed it worked much better then Chemo but the major cancer hospitals in NYC fell to a death ear and he thought it to be all political and physician fortune opportunism. I never did get to the end of this project I am extremely sorry to say but you are right “Make the impossible dream a possible reality at any cost. Lifetime achievements are a great chore but a goal if attainable is an honorable plateau especially if its for all the right reasons. If I can be of assistance to Martin or you in your journey please don’t hesitate to call upon me.

    Thank You and may God Bless each and everyone! Chris

Leave a Reply