No Fears, No Excuses: What you need to do to have a great career - Book review


Fears and excuses - we all have them. As I lead #SavvyTeenAcademy workshops, I find that many teenagers have fears around their future. And why should it be surprising? When you want the best out of life but you're not sure you can get it and how, you can find yourself being afraid...

... that you don't have what it takes.

... that what you want isn't possible or doable or realistic.

... that you won't make the right choices because you don't know which choices are the right ones.

... that you will have to resign yourself to a so-so life, or to a meh life.

... that you will have to abandon your dreams

Young man doubt

Working with Savvy Teens over four days, I as well as the other speakers and workshop leaders give you a full toolbox of strategies to decide where you are, where you want to be, and how to get from one to the other most easily, most effectively and with the highest chance of success.

Sometimes it's also Savvy Teens coming to talk to me one-to-one over a coffee break or at lunch to open their hearts and share their secret fears and desires. Can they have the life they dream of? Is it even allowed to desire that dream life? The answer is yes, and yes.

And don't think for a moment that adults are immune to fear and doubt. Fear and doubt don't magically melt away once you finish college or once you get your first job. But the good news is that fear and doubt have a lot to teach us, and there are many things you can do so that they don't hold you back.

That's why No Fears, No Excuses caught my eye. The author of No Fears, No Excuses, Larry Smith, is a professor of economics at the University of Waterloo, Canada. (Related: Careers - What does an economist do, exactly?)

The book is based on his very popular TED talk, "Why you will fail to have a great career". The talk has been watched over 4 million times, and the book has the same mixture of tough love, humour and clarity.

Here is a choice excerpt from his TED talk: "We're going to go through a whole long list - your creativity in thinking of excuses not to do what you really need to do if you want to have a great career."


Watch the book review below or like our Facebook page to watch it.



So, who should read No Fears, No Excuses, and why?

Strategies to tackle each fear in turn

First of all, I highly recommend the book for people, especially teenagers, who are faced with big life decisions. No Fears, No Excuses will help you define your aspirations and surface your fears - I compare it to a fishing rod: it will reveal your fears much more clearly and it will help you name them. Then you can create strategies to deal with each fear in turn.

Making complex decisions less overwhelming

Choosing a great career isn't exactly simple. For teenagers it means deciding which subjects to study in secondary school, which course to choose in college, what kind of work experience to apply for... These are complex decisions, and there are a lot of them. They might be complex, but there is a methodical, systematic way of approaching them, though, to get the best result.

Related: How to choose your Leaving Cert subjects

Knowing when you're hiding behind an excuse

The book also makes a clear difference between excuses and reasons. Excuses are false "reasons" we hide behind so as not to have to do something difficult. Reasons are valid and valuable, and need to be examined. That's a very interesting take away from the book.


FInd the book No Fears, No Excuses at Eason's.

#SavvyTeenAcademy is a transformative four-day programme focusing on Careers, Communications and Confidence. Join us for a high-energy experience that will give you the confidence to create the future you want.

Two sessions in 2019, in Cork (22 to 25 July) and Dublin (29 July to 1 August)

Read more about the programme here.

Find out more about the 2019 sessions here.