Introducing ‘No Good Excuse,’ a New Friedreich’s Ataxia Column

Sean Baumstark avatar

by Sean Baumstark |

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better, no good excuse

I’m convinced that we all think we’re unique in the following regard: Something about who we are, or our circumstances, excuses us from being better or from being the best version of ourselves possible. We’re all pretty darn good at coming up with excuses as to why we didn’t make it to that party, or why we were late, or why we couldn’t be somewhere.

No matter how creative we are, there really is no good excuse. Only reasons.

Reasons always have a place. Unfortunately, too often “reason” is watered down because our society is so good at confusing excuses for acceptable reasons and relying on insignificant reasons to blame our performance, or lack thereof. First and foremost, if you want to be known as someone who follows through and simply gets stuff done, you’ve got to find comfort and confidence in your reasons and leave your excuses out of the picture.

In other words, own your reasons and ditch your excuses. If your condition flared up and kept you from following through on something, be OK with that and explain what you’re comfortable with. On the flip side, though, be careful in letting your sometimes valid reasons become frivolous excuses.

Too often we’re worried about offending someone or hurting someone’s feelings. Of course, you shouldn’t hurt feelings on purpose. But if your convictions or commitment to your goals cause you to act in a particular way, you shouldn’t feel the need to “excuse” what’s important to you. Communication coach Lisa Nichols delivers this challenge: “What are you willing to let go of at the risk of getting something greater?” Let go of the fear of offending someone — if you don’t want to help your friend move, own that and don’t make excuses.

If you frequently don’t show up because you’re tired, your priorities may be misplaced. If you aren’t accomplishing the important things in your life because you’re too busy, you’re allowing excuses to rule you.

Don’t get me wrong. Trust me, I know tired. Fatigue and I have partnered in life for decades, thanks to Friedreich’s ataxia. However, I’ll never be known as the guy that didn’t follow through simply because I was tired. If I said I’d be there, then fatigue won’t keep from delivering on that promise. Remember, you’re only as good as your word, and excuses do nothing but expose your character. If the person or the event is important to you, that’s reason enough to honor the place you want them to have in your life.

And I understand busy. In fact, I get a kick out of life when I have a million things going on. Aren’t we all tired? Aren’t we all busy? If that friendship is important to you, you’ll make time for lunch or coffee. Otherwise, stop “trying” and either do or do not.

“Busy” doesn’t pay the bills, it doesn’t make you breakfast, it doesn’t drive you to work, it doesn’t fold your laundry, it doesn’t go to the gym for you, it doesn’t choose healthier meals for you, it doesn’t show up for a loved one’s birthday for you, and it never sends a letter or a phone call to someone important to you. Only reasons get stuff done. If you aren’t careful and you just let life happen to you, excuses will isolate you. If I didn’t care about living a significant life despite my disease or the energy deprivation that comes with it, I’d be happy to let excuses get in the way. I know better though. I know that excuses only hold me back; they never push me forward.

I could go on, but I’ll leave you with this: If your circumstances change but your results stay the same, you are hiding behind excuses.

Create reasons, not excuses.


Friedreich’s Ataxia News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.


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