The Top 5 Powerless Words to Stop Using Now


You’ve read all about powerless words.  You’ve eliminated the word “try” from your vocabulary.  What are the other top five powerless words to stop using now?


Don’t go into the street vs stop right now.
Don’t run on the pool deck vs walk around the pool.
Don’t whine vs speak nicely.

Children are looking for direction.  If you want a particular behavior from them, state it.  If you tell them what NOT to do, often they have no idea what is the opposite behavior. So, they have no idea what you DO want them to do.  Set them up for success and tell them – and tell yourself, and tell others – what you DO want. 

“You’re great, but your kids are terrors.”  Do you think the person heard the compliment hidden in there, or did they just hear the let down?  “But” negates everything in the sentence that came before it, so take a moment to rephrase the second part of what you are saying.  “You’re great, and I’d like to  spend some more adult time with you – let’s leave the kids with sitters.”

How much conviction do you have when you use this word?  “I should be free by 3pm.”  Maybe…or, maybe not.  Instead, replace it with “I will” and if you’re free earlier, you can adjust the appointment (or park playdate) accordingly.

If you’re using it in the context of “I should call my mother today…” as in an obligation, rephrase it with “I choose to” or “I will” – because ultimately, obligations sap your energy and it’s really your choice whether you do it or not.

Similar to the use of “should” as an obligation, these phrases indicate things you feel you are being forced to do.  I need to make dinner, I have to do the dishes, I need to vacuum, I have to do laundry…  tired yet?  Substitute “I will” and “I get to” and your mindset will make a positive leap.

This phrase is the ultimate in non-committal and the softest way to get out of saying “no.”  Take a moment to think about whatever it is you’re being asked, and have the conviction to agree or disagree.  You can (almost) always change your mind about something – and if you can’t, it’s great training for you to tune into your gut feeling more quickly and confidently next time.

… and, of course, TRY
When you try, attempt, make the effort or strive for something, you aren’t actually committing to anything. Replace it with “I will” or “I am.”