Excuses and What I Have Learned as a Life Coach for Teenagers

November 23, 2012 by John Andrew Williams

Everyone wants to do their best. Period.

In the past 8 years as a Life Coach for teenagers, I have worked with over 250 students, and one student in particular was adamant about NOT doing his best. And he was serious. He wanted to get B’s instead of A’s because he didn’t want to be considered a geek and didn’t want to go to the prestigious college his father went to and was pressuring him to attend.

I was utterly fascinated by the student’s persistence, but you can imagine how frustrated his parents were.

I have a way to look at performance, grades, and being successful called Why & How. To be successful over the long-term, people have to know why something is important and how to do it.

The problem with why for most students, is that they don’t see a satisfactory reason for doing their work. The student mentioned above didn’t want to do his homework because he didn’t see the need to get into an elite school. He had his mind and heart set on University of Oregon and he literally believed that if he got too high of a GPA, his parents would insist he go to an Ivy League school.

It was rough.

What happened next in our Life Coaching sessions was nothing short of miraculous: it became clear that he also didn’t know how to be successful.

He made inane excuses to distract his parents (and everyone else, including himself) from his inability to get higher grades.

Source: ordinarycourage.com via SH on Pinterest

So, it turns out that deep down he really did want to do his best. But since he didn’t know how to get higher grades, he made up a crazy story about why he didn’t want to get them.

Granted, the example here is extreme… but I think most excuses arise from the same mix-up.

It’s humbling to take a step back and admit I don’t know how to achieve what I really want.

Asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness.

Let's stay connected

ALC Logo


To provide life coach training that changes lives, launches careers, and promotes human flourishing.

Connect with us

Facebook linkInstagram linkTwitter linkYoutube linkPinterest LinkLinkedin link

PO Box 2021
Hood River, Oregon 97031

This website is powered by

CTEDU logoACTP logo