Language is a powerful tool, in fact, as humans it’s our most powerful tool.
Language is the foundation on which we build partnerships, families, communities, and countries. In my coaching sessions I pay a lot of attention to the language of my clients. It often gives hints about how they perceived their current situation, and what is stopping them from moving forward. Through language, I can ask about assumptions, limitations, and perceived obstacles or simply for more clarity.
the ‘should’ word
There is one word that jumps out to me in coaching sessions as well as everyday conversations that is never helpful – the word ‘should’. For example:
I should be making more money
I should eat healthy.
I should attend the event.
When I hear the word ‘should’, I wonder what is really going on for my client?
‘Should’ implies that there is a right and a wrong action according to someone, or some higher authority, or some ethical guidelines?! It implies that they are taking an action while resisting some part of it.
Where is the client’s choice in the matter?
If you hear yourself using the word ‘should’, ask yourself these questions:
I should ______. According to who?
Why do I feel like I have to do ____ rather than I’m choosing to do _____?
Does doing this action serve me? How?
Are there drawbacks to taking this action?
Do I still want to do _____?
Uncover the real meaning behind your ‘should’. Perhaps you are trying to satisfy the needs or expectations of others? Or you don’t feel like doing the action, and know it will benefit you in the long run? Is there a way to choose your action powerfully and let go of your resistance?
If the action is aligned to your values, morals, core beliefs, or goals – choose it powerfully and take responsbility! Change your ‘should’ word to ‘will’ or ‘want to’ or ‘choose to’.