Phrases That Are Holding You Back

Remember the childhood saying “Sticks and stones will break my bones but words can never hurt me”?  I beg to differ.  So often in coaching I hear people utter phrases that on the surface seem innocuous but, in reality are devastating.  There is no voice more powerful than your own.  In fact, a study found that it took seven positive comments from others to negate ONE negative thing we told ourselves.

Many years ago I learned that CAN’T was an acronym.  It means-Certainly Am Not Trying.  “I Can’t” feeds the fear.  It gives into the fear.  It let’s fear triumph without even trying.    We can do anything we put our mind’s to. You could run a marathon (or wheel one), you could climb a mountain, you can loose weight and you CAN build a business.  The tougher the tasks the longer it takes.  CAN’T is your fear talking.  Tell it to sit down and shut up. Replace it with:  I WILL!

This is one of the most damaging phrases in the English language.  I am going to have to wax Star Wars geek here and quote Yoda.  Do or Do Not… there is no try.  “Try” opens the door for failure.
Replace this with: No matter what.   No matter what says “I know I can and I will keep at it until I get there”.  

Quit shoulding all over yourself!  “Should” is self castigating.  “Should” implys that you fell short or were wrong in some way.  “Should” is filled with regret.
Replace this with:  Next time I will… or maybe just let yourself do what you want.  Cut your self some slack.

No you don’t.  You CHOOSE to.  Perhaps you “choose” to based on what other people will think, say or do.. but you choose to.  So if that is the case, own the choice.  If you don’t like the choice, change the choice.  Let others think, do or say what they will.    Replace with:  I choose to do this because.

I hear this so often and it makes me cringe.  Would you ever let someone talk to you that way?  Absolutely not!  You are not stupid!  You are learning, evolving and growing.  Now I will quote Einstein:

“Everybody is a genius.  But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that is is stupid”

We all have strengths and weaknesses.  I am very good at a number of things but I have to wait for my nephew to come home on leave and pick out a new car stereo for me.  I am not stupid.  It just  isn’t my area of expertise.  But you better believe I will learn a lot when we select it.

Replace this with:  I am learning and growing in my skill set.

These phrases rob us of our power and make us helpless victims.  Take your power back.  Choose your words carefully as they build who you are.  Own your words, deeds and actions  for they are yours alone.

 Michelle Archer is a certified coach with over 20 years experience in direct sales. Michelle works with companies and individuals to explode their business potential. Connect with her on Facebook Learn more at

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