Una's Blog


16 Red Herrings

graphic-4by Una Hearne.

You know the excuses we allow ourselves to believe so that we can avoid having to do something? I call them red herrings. Sometimes it’s ok to use them, but if they are stopping you creating the life you want well, that’s not what you want is it?

The red herrings I see over and over again are:

  • I don’t have the money
  • I don’t have the time
  • I don’t know the right people
  • I don’t have the right qualifications/ experience
  • I don’t know how to do that

They sound so reasonable, don’t they? When people say these things to me they set off warning bells immediately because, in my experience, these are assumptions people have made. Usually no attempt has been made to check if these assumptions are true at all. And usually no attempt has been made to explore possibilities and options for moving forward.

I do a lot of coaching on these areas. In my experience, there are always options, choices to be made and action to be taken. There is always a way forward. However, these red herrings are not always easy to shift as they can be tied to internal beliefs and these can take some work to change.

Given that I can’t hope to shift your beliefs in one little blog, I would still like to offer the following thoughts on my top five red herrings which will hopefully go some way towards a shift in perspective:

  • Money is not an obstacle, it is a resource. The amount you have right now is finite. The amount you can generate in your future is variable. How can you best manage what you have now to build the future you want?
  • Time is a resouce, albeit finite. Using time involves choices, prioritising, how can you best manage the time you have to create and live the best and most enjoyable life for you?
  • We are an interconnected species. You are connected to everyone through other people. Theoretically you can meet anyone you want if you ask enough people for introductions and make a good enough impression or be of sufficient value to be referred on.
  • Identify what qualifications / experience you actually need to start, not what you assume you need. Then find out how you can learn / gain experience in a way that fits in with your life. Assume it’s possible and find your way.
  • Everything you know how to do right now, you learned at some point. There was a point when you didn’t know it. So you can learn whatever you want. You just have to find out where that information is or who knows it and learn.

All red herrings provide a focus away from what we actually want, that’s their job. Their job is to allow us to abdicate responsibility for our lives and stay in our comfort zone. And while I am very much in favour of comfort zones, if they are keeping you stuck instead of comfortable they are not working for you. It is essential to success to maintain focus on what you want, and not on what you don’t want. If you catch a red herring – fling it back and keep going.


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