Attitude is everything, not only in life, but in business.
If you believe you will fail, you will. If you feel like a loser, you are one. If you have small expectations, you’ll miss the opportunity to grow.
Whether you’re talking to yourself or to others, the words you use have the power to lift you up or tear you down. They can inspire you, or defeat you.
Choose them carefully, and start by eliminating these five offenders from your vocabulary.
With My Luck…
I hear this kind of self-deprecating talk a lot, and I think for the most part it’s habit. But habits begin somewhere, so if you catch yourself saying “With my luck…” stop.
Luck is what you make it, or as one famous quote puts it, “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.”
If you’re fond of saying things like, “With my luck, if I win the lottery I’ll get hit by a bus the next day,” you’re subconsciously justifying doing nothing at all. Since you believe nothing good will come from your efforts–and in fact something very bad might happen–it makes sense to not pursue change at all. It feels much safer to stay right where you’re at.
I admit, this one is hard for me. I think it’s hard for women in general. I catch myself apologizing for things that are not my fault a lot, in business and in life.
Client complaining that their server is down? “I’m sorry, let me see what I can do to fix it.”
Friend wants to meet for lunch at the last minute? “I’m sorry, I’m just too busy today.”
Dad wants to know why I didn’t answer the phone? “I’m sorry, I didn’t hear it.”
None of these situations warrant an apology, and yet “I’m sorry” is often the first thing out of our mouths, whether we really mean it or not. It undermines our confidence and piles on guilt where none is needed–and we can all use more of the former and less of the later, so ditch the “I’m sorry”s already.
But what about the times you really are at fault? Replace “I’m sorry” with “thank you,” like this:
“I’m sorry to turn this in late,” becomes “Thank you for your patience.”
“I’m sorry I accidentally gave away your paid program to 3,000 people for free,” becomes “Thank you for your understanding.” (Yeah, I really did that once. Oops.)
“I’m sorry I deleted your entire website,” becomes “Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to make this right.” (Yeah, did that once, too. Seriously, live and learn.)
“I wish I could take a vacation.”
“I wish I could afford a new car.”
“I wish I could go to that conference.”
Wishing for something implies you don’t have the power to make it happen. What would it take to go on vacation or buy a new car or attend a conference? Instead of wishing for it, make it happen. Create a plan. Do the work.
I have to…
This one is all about mindset and attitude. When you look at your to-do list and think, “I have to write a blog/invoice a client/set up a website/balance the books,” what you’re really saying is, “I hate my job.”
Yuck. Who wants to face a day full of things they hate? Isn’t that why you started your business in the first place? So you could get away from those tasks you hate?
Turn your attitude around by changing up “I have to” with “I get to.”
I don’t “have to” pay (outrageously high) taxes. I get to. It’s a benefit of being my own boss and a sign that I’m making good money.
I don’t “have to” get on the phone with a hosting company for 90 minutes. I get to solve a problem for one of my clients.
I don’t “have to” spend two hours troubleshooting a problem plugin, I get to learn more about how php works and what makes websites break.
I get after my husband for this one. He’s fond of saying things like, “If we make $XXX this month, we can…”
Maybe you do the same thing, and I’ll tell you exactly what I tell him: “It’s not ‘if,’ it’s ‘when.'”
“When” implies that the outcome is pre-determined. We only need to work the plan to achieve the goal. “If” implies that luck is involved, that the outcome is out of our control. It’s a way of saying, “I’m not responsible for my success, so it doesn’t matter if I work hard or not. I’m just going to eat cake and watch Jerry Springer.”
What self-limiting, confidence-killing words and phrases are you using? Share them in the comments, then eliminate them from your vocabulary.