“I have a dream”, “Freedom is coming tomorrow”, “It always seems impossible until it is done”. These are all famous quotes that have inspired many people to do great things over the years. We often underestimate the power and impact that a few words can have in our lives. In particular, you don’t always give thought to how your own words have the potential to help you succeed, whether it be in your business or personal life. By the same token, you don’t always consider how your words might be preventing you from reaching your true potential.
So what are some of words and phrases that you use on a daily basis that might be holding you back?
1. This is impossible.
Actress Audrey Hepburn once said, “Nothing is impossible, the word itself says ‘I’m possible!’” and she could not have been more right. There are very few things in life that are impossible to achieve. However, very often by just saying or thinking that something is impossible, you can discourage yourself from even attempting it. So instead of thinking that something can’t be done, rather try to consider how you can make it a reality. Who knows what you can achieve?
Before 1969, many would have thought that going into space was impossible and yet nearly five decades later we have not only made multiple trips to space and landings on the moon, but we are currently in the planning phases of colonising Mars.
Replace with: Let’s find a way to do this.
2. It is too late.
It is too late for me to further my studies, it is too late for me to start my own business, it is just too late ... This is a phrase that is used quite frequently, particularly when risks or opportunities present themselves and you might be too afraid to take them. The problem with using this excuse is that you could be missing out on opportunities with the potential to transform your life or your career. Kentucky Fried Chicken’s Colonel Sanders was already 66 years old when he got the opportunity to open his first KFC take-away and had he said that it was too late, he might never have had the opportunity to open up his, now world famous, KFC franchise.
You should never impose age limits on yourself. It is never too late to do something or embark on a new venture. Dreams have no age limit and sometimes they work out better the later on they happen in life. Designer Vera Wang was a figure skater and a journalist before, at 40, she become one of the world’s most famous fashion designers.
Replace with: Better late than never.
3. I don’t know.
“I don’t know” is possibly one of the most used phrases, and also one of the phrases that is most responsible for holding you back. It is very often the automatic response for when you are asked something out of the ordinary. Despite being the truth in most cases, using this response also makes you sound disinterested. If you use a more positive response such as “That is a good question, I will find out”, not only does it motivate you to find out what you don’t know, which increases your knowledge, but in a work environment it can be seen as enthusiasm which can lead to new work opportunities.
Replace with: That is a good question, I will find out.
4. It is what it is.
Nothing is ever what it seems and everything can always be changed and improved upon. If this were not the case then Burberry would never be the world famous, celebrity-endorsed clothing brand that it is today. In 2006, when Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts was appointed to the brand, she did not merely accept the brand for what it was but rather began a complete overhaul of the clothing company. Almost a decade later, Burberry is now one the leading brands worldwide.
Never accept things for what they are but strive to make them better. Sometimes all it takes is a bit of tweaking of an existing idea and you could create the next big thing.
Replace with: How can we make this better?
So, never undervalue the power that a simple phrase can have in your life. As Robin Sharma once said, ”Words can inspire. And words can destroy. Choose yours well.”