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One Word Your Need to Stop Using

I’m noticing a trend these days.

Many leaders that I have talked to recently are feel guilty that they are not doing enough.

They are constantly telling themselves that they should be doing more.

Here are some examples that you can perhaps relate to:

I should:

  • Be coaching my team more
  • Be spending more time doing strategic work
  • Be giving that team member constructive feedback
  • Be dealing with that relationship that isn’t working
  • Do more to create efficiencies in our processes
  • Feel more enthusiastic about virtual leadership

At first glance the word should may seem positive. It may appear to be a helpful tool for goal setting or to motivate you to take action.

But in reality, it is a word that you need to stop using.


Well, the word should can actually lead to guilt, frustration and anxiety. You end up dwelling on your shortcomings rather than feeling good about what you actually ARE accomplishing.

So, instead of “should-ing” all the time, what can you do instead?

Here are three key terms to adopt.

  • I will
  • I won’t
  • I won’t do it right now…but will schedule it right now

Let’s use the example of giving constructive feedback since I know may leaders tend to avoid the inevitability of this task.

  • I will give the feedback today
  • I won’t give the feedback because I have decided it is not important (then you have to let it go!)
  • I won’t give the feedback right now but I have put it in my calendar to do on Tuesday during my one-on-one meeting with my team member

Although this shift in your language may seem small, it is actually very impactful.

So, I encourage you to stop using the world should immediately.  Erase it from your vocabulary!

Ask yourself:

What am I feeling guilty about right now?

What “shoulds” are holding me back?

Moving forward, my hope for you is to eliminate guilt and “should” from your life.

Rather, replace it with one of the three “will” statements listed above.

Now that feels empowering!

Vanessa Judelman

Vanessa Judelman is an author, coach, and sought-after leadership expert. Over the past 20 years, she has created a proven formula to develop results-oriented leaders who feel empowered and confident in their job. Vanessa is the author of Mastering Leadership: What It Takes to Lead in Today’s Fast-Paced World. Order your copy here.

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