The If Only Girl


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Stop Should-ing All Over Yourself


I led a workshop this weekend in Portland about how easy it is as humans to unwittingly disempower ourselves through our use of language.

Have you ever found yourself saying some version of the following?

I should get up at 5 am tomorrow and go to the gym before work.

I have to stay late at the office again tonight.

I should be meditating for 20 minutes a day.

Actually, I should be meditating for 20 minutes twice a day.

I need to call my mother back.

To quote my friend and mentor Steve Chandler- "Should’ actually reduces your motivation every time you use it. ‘Should’ is the most self-defeating word in the English Language. It’s like a tranquilizer to the Spirit.”- from Reinventing Yourself

Anytime we use phrases like- “I should..” or “ I have to..” or “I need to..” it’s a sign that something inside of us is operating in victim consciousness, whether we’re aware of it or not. This type of language essentially gives our power over to someone or something outside of ourselves.

The good news is that over time we can learn to notice when we use language like this and shift into a position of empowerment for ourselves.

I worked with a client several years ago who was beating himself up because he “should” be working on a writing project that had been in process for six years.

We slowed way down and asked questions like-

What part inside of you is this coming from? Whose voice is telling you that you “should” be finishing this? Is it a parent’s voice? Is it someone else’s voice? Is it from your soul?

He realized where the “should” was coming from. And then he knew that he had a choice with how he wanted to move forward.

He didn’t “have” to finish the writing. He wanted to finish the writing. He had a deep desire inside to complete what he started.

We worked together to craft the smallest possible action step he could take to move forward.

Six months later I ran into him and the writing project he’d been “working on” for six years was complete.

All because of a shift in mindset.

This is what’s available to us when we’re willing to notice and update our language.

I’m leading a complimentary workshop in LA in early November.

If you’d like me to discuss this topic and/or if you’d like an invitation DM me or leave comment below.

Laura FosterComment