How to Handle the Other B.S.

Well, my current city of Paris and my beloved, Italian mother just collided.

I invited her to visit after experiencing some of the best things Paris has to offer.


While Mama was excited about exploring both the culinary and non-culinary wonders of the City of Lights, her enthusiasm was accompanied by another emotional phenomenon: the worries.

Those of you with Italian families from Queens, NY know exactly what I’m talking about.

Her worries actually began back when we first booked her trip:

  • “But suppose I don’t bring the right clothes and I’m uncomfortable?” she asked as she began to pack
  • “But suppose I’m not able to find you at the airport?” she asked as she pondered her arrival
  • “But suppose I lose you and never get to see the view from the top?” she asked once she’d arrived and I asked her not to grip my arm quite so tightly all the way through the very, very long Eiffel Tower line

“But suppose…” is one of Mama’s favorite ways to start a sentence. Many of us do the same thing…just with different words.

  • We get excited about attending a new music class…then we say “but what if I’m no good at singing and I’m supposed to do it in front of other people?” And so we don’t do it.
  • We decide we need to find a job that fulfills us more…then we say “but then there’s the chance that the salary won’t be as good and the bills won’t get paid.” And so we don’t do it.
  • We dream of taking up scuba diving…then we say, “but what if the boat leaves me behind while I’m underwater like in that movie?” And so we don’t do it.

“But suppose…” – or, as I like to call it, B.S. – is a dream-squasher, an energy-sucker. Its goal is to talk us out of doing something new or different (or scary!) based on what might go wrong.

Which then leads us to either skip that something new, or to do it but to enjoy it less because we spend the entire time waiting for the horrible things we imagined to actually happen.

I know what you’re thinking, especially if you’re an Italian from NY.


Yes, B.S. can also be a helpful tool. It can help us identify risks and keep us from doing wild things that are unnecessary or impulsive.


B.S. can also be our perfect excuse to stay stuck, offering a false sense of logic and security that keeps us from experiencing new things.

To add to the problem, sometimes the B.S. comes from outside of ourselves, in the form of those well-intended loved ones who don’t want us to get hurt, but help us stay stuck in the process. (Are you sure you’re comfortable singing in front of others?…Is it really a good idea to leave your job right now?…Why would you want to try scuba diving when it’s so dangerous?)

So what to do about the B.S. in your life?

Listen to it – whether from your own mind or from others – and determine which kind it is… the rational kind that allows you to weigh things out, or the fear-based, irrational kind that gives you the perfect excuse to stay stuck.

Recognize how badly you want this thing and also how much it scares you. Give the idea time to grow, see how right it feels.

Think through the potential pitfalls rationally, using them as a way make a good decision instead of as a springboard for panic and risk- aversion.

And know that, no matter what B.S. you come up with, it’s only a partial list. Life is funny, and can provide all kinds of scenarios those creative brains of ours never saw coming. The important thing is to know that we can manage them all.

Which leads me back to my dear mother, who got to see the Eiffel Tower after all…though only after hitting a snag on the second level, which was shut down due to security scare.

blog tower closed

The good news is that it all worked out fine. And, in the end, all of that B.S. didn’t matter all.

blog et

C’est la vie.

This week…

Pay attention to the B.S. in your life. Dream of new things, and get excited if it’s authentic to you.

Allow others to dream big, too. And if you want to offer some careful advice to others, keep the B.S. out of it.

After all, life’s too short for too much B.S.

Now, go do good…and do it well.


13 responses to “How to Handle the Other B.S.”

  1. Heather Avatar

    Deirdre, this post hit home for me more than any other! I’ll have to save this so I can pull it out and re-read it when I start the BSing! Thank you!

  2. Susan Seale Avatar

    Hi Deirdre,
    Totally enjoyed your thoughts on b.s.! Wise counsel. And loved humor and the pics, including the one from Moonstruck. I want to hear all your favorite places when you return. We’re planning a trip next year. Best, Susan

    1. Deirdre Maloney Avatar
      Deirdre Maloney

      Thanks Susan – and I’m happy to share (and I promise not to go on too long about Paris. I try to steer clear of too much “nah-nah-nah-nah-boo-boo) 🙂

  3. Michele Avatar

    Always love your posts! This is one is especially relevant today (everyday?!)! Thank you!

  4. Deirdre Maloney Avatar
    Deirdre Maloney

    Glad you ladies found this post useful – after all, we can all B.S. ourselves every so often, yes?! Thanks for the comments!

  5. Robin Hanson Avatar
    Robin Hanson

    Love today’s post. Sharing it with some folks just starting their careers. Great thoughts on how to approach those creepin’ doubts. And this is not restricted to Italian families in Queens – it strikes families surviving the heat in Phoenix.

    1. Deirdre Maloney Avatar
      Deirdre Maloney

      Thanks Robin – and I suspected the B.S. phenomenon wasn’t restricted to one nationality or location…this one seems pretty much worldwide… 🙂 Thanks so much for passing this on!

  6. Sherry Tobey Avatar

    I always enjoy your gift of writing with humor and your ability to choose topics that relate to so many of us. This one came at a perfect time and it is really one of your best. Cherish those moments with your sweet mom…..its something only you can share with her.

    1. Deirdre Maloney Avatar
      Deirdre Maloney

      Sherry – what a lovely compliment. Thanks very much for reading the post – I’m so glad it was such good timing for you. And you’re right about Mom – she really is something special…

  7. Lenita Avatar


    As a new ED, your words are so timely and true. Thanks for spreading love and insights. Enjoy your time in Paris, what a lovely city!

    1. Deirdre Maloney Avatar
      Deirdre Maloney

      Lenita, thank YOU for taking on the ED role! I know firsthand how both meaningful and tricky the position can be, and I applaud your dedication…thank, too, for taking the time to give this a read…

  8. Patty Avatar

    Thank you once again Deirdre for such good incite on BS. Funny but when we can put a label on something, it seem a bit easier to deal with it. My BS is usually the irrational worry kind so I appreciate your bringing me up to snuff.

    1. Deirdre Avatar

      Thanks Patty – and you’re the one who’s bringing you up to snuff! 🙂 Just recognizing the irrational B.S. is a step many of us can’t quite get to, and I applaud your introspection. Bravo!