Do You Want Career Success? Give Up This!

The power of words

The power of words cannot be overstated. Words hold so much power. They can motivate, build rapport, they can break hearts or build friendships.

Think about the words that you utter to yourself – could they be affecting your career progress? If the eyes are the window to the soul then your words are the window to your beliefs.

How you talk to yourself can make the difference between you taking risks, trying new things, applying for that job or the work-life balance you create.

Using the right words in the right order at the right time is the backbone of coaching. Listening to the words clients use when they explain their issues and goals gives me a window to their thought processes.

Whilst it may seem a little spooky, when your coach is going quiet they are not only paying attention to what you are saying, but HOW you are saying it.

Today I want to share with you a common conversation that happens with my coaching clients. It may be a Mum looking to return to work, or a Dad looking to go out on his own or a parent-to-be considering their options pre-parental leave.

Either way, as the coaching conversation flows, we hit a wall. Where we are discussing the opportunities they have available to them, or the alternative perspectives or choices they can make.

There may be a pause, or an uncomfortable shift in body language or a big, frustrated sigh.

What comes next is an explanation of how they must stay in their lane. How they can’t disappoint, impose on or frustrate other people.

How they can’t do something because of money, or time, or support or education or experience. You get the picture.

They have decided their place in the world, never deviating from that path. They stay in their safe place and don’t take the risk of trying something new.

Justifying their behaviour and thought processes with simple statements.

But there is one word that really stands out during these sorts of sessions. Every time I hear this word, I start to see how easy it is for people to limit themselves and their aspirations. That word is “should.”

Do any of these statements ring true to you?

  • “I should spend more time at work.”
  • “I should be grateful for my salary.”
  • “I should wait until I am ready to apply for the ideal job”
  • “I should not rock the boat and upset people”

When the word “should” pops up, it shows a belief, a belief that is long-standing and could be limiting you from being more or earning more. The beliefs we hold are ingrained from childhood.

We take our beliefs from the people in our lives who matter to us; from family, teachers and friends.

With the development of technology, those messages of how we should behave are seeping in through social media too; how often do we compare ourselves to others when scrolling through a news feed?

The next time you say the word “should,” you need to stop and ask yourself these three questions:

  • Where does this belief come from? Is it from you or from someone else?
  • Is it true? What evidence do you have? Is this “evidence” real or imagined and is it recent?
  • How is this belief serving you? Should you find that this is someone else’s expectations, that there is no real truth in it and it is holding you back, then immediately remove it from your internal monologue!

Is this belief driving you forward? Getting you to where you want to be? If you find that your “should” is from you, it’s true and it is empowering you in your career, then change it to a “will” and see what magic happens!

This simple word can make such a difference. It is an easy way to hold yourself back and can stop you achieving everything you want in life.

Make sure you listen to the stories you tell yourself as they become the internal monologue that drives your career confidence.  What will you achieve now you know how to really listen?

Over to You!

Do you find yourself saying “should” a lot? How do you think your internal monologue has been holding you back in your career? Share your thoughts with us – we’d love to hear from you.

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the powers of words

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Clara Wilcox

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  1. What an interesting post – I certainly do use should a lot and though this does drive me forward in some areas, in others those ‘shoulds’ just stay that way. I need to turn more shoulds into haves!

    1. Reading this was an eye-opening experience for me too. I have taken the word “should” from my vocabulary.

  2. This is a really great post! I hadn’t even thought about how much I say ‘should’ before, and I can now see how it may be affecting me. Xx

  3. Oh my gosh, I say this all the time. It’s such a hard habit to break!

  4. I used to use “should” alot until my hubby did a coaching course to become a mentor himself and I realised it was a negative word doing its worst by stopping me realising dreams and goals. I now try not to use it and instead use a mantra he taught me of JFDI = just f-ing do it.

  5. You are absolutely right. I think I use ‘should’ far too often.

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