What Are You Doing With Your Red Flags?

“Red Flags Aren’t for Decorating”

“Red Flag’s Aren’t for Decorating

This great quote was part of a daily reading. It was a reminder that we often receive warnings, signals that we are making some poor decisions. What I have found in all of my years of coaching is that most often the red flags are about continuing to do something, the way you have always done it and not pivoting, adjusting or changing to adapt as you evolve.

I hope that your thinking of a few times in your life when you have blown past a red flag or two only to have learned the hard way that you could have maybe realized the outcome was coming. Warnings can be very common when it comes to our health. Often people don’t know their bodies that well and so when things shift, and their body starts to feel different or react differently than it used to, they just figure that it isn’t a big deal.  The truth is it might be a really big deal. Sometimes the simplest thing can be a warning of something bigger that needs to be addressed. Often, I have had clients tell me about all of the warnings they ignored before their cancer diagnosis or heart attack. 

What I find most common is that people see and feel the warning signs to things and their brain gets scared and the fear of what could be the worst thing possible fills their mind and they decide that denial is the best option. By the way I heard a great acronym for denial, Didn’t Even Notice It’s A Lie. Here is the thing about denial or avoiding facts. It doesn’t prevent time from moving forward. Time doesn’t care that you are stuck in denial and won’t connect with the facts and the warnings, it just keeps moving ahead. And while time is moving ahead your number of options and choices are shrinking.

Over the years I have personally ignored some really big red flags, like the size of the Camping World flags red flags and the outcomes have been mostly devastating to myself, but my denial also got all over other people’s lives too.

Here are a few examples:

~Taking a receptionist’s job at a tech accounting company in the 90’s and acting like my dyslexia could be hidden. People couldn’t read the messages I took from clients very well. I was great on the phone, but putting it into email or writing, was not pretty.

~Or all of the red flags that my car was dying, and I need to sell it and stop putting money into it.

~Or the reg flag when I am put on weight, that is a sign that I am eating my emotions and not dealing with my feelings in a healthy manner. For me it is a sign of stress, fear and feeling out of control. 

I recall watching Oprah, when she had her daily talk show, and she would talk about this a lot or bring it up in interviews. She would say, You are getting warning signs and if you don’t make changes, you will run right into the whole brick wall, hard.

I was recently talking with a potential new client about coaching and because they were new to me, I was able to see all of the red flags they were ignoring. They kept pausing and asking me, “Do you think this is an issue I should worry about?” It might have been zoom, but I don’t think they could miss read my face, which was saying “Hell Ya.” I started keeping track of all of the red flags and at the end of the meeting I picked just one, the one I thought they would be most comfortable exploring more. The reaction they were having to certain foods, but they didn’t want to give up dairy, even though they were having terrible reactions to it. We talked about her level of denial, all of her fears she could name and how complicated it would make her life. It was just easier to be in pain than to deal with all of the chatter in her head. I had her do a little exercise and we moved on. 

A week later, when I sent a follow up email, she shared that she had decided to see what it would be like to cut back on her dairy intake. She noticed she was holding her food better and feeling more at ease about going places not having to worry about a bathroom all the time. The thing she was most worried about missing out on was cheese curds at the Minnesota State Fair. I told her to meet that challenge head on and to decide if the return on the investment was worth it when she got to the fair.

“Red Flag’s Aren’t for Decorating”

Is a great little reminder that we always need to be paying attention to the world around us and our bodies. We need to always be adjusting and most often the details and answers are within us.

What red flags are you decorating with, instead of noticing and exploring their connection to what is going on in your life?


Have a great week,

JoyGenea Schumer
Business Owner, International Neurodiversity Coach, and Speaker

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