The word “should” can really weigh you down. For many of us, that word echoes in our minds often. You might say things like, “I should be more successful than I am”, “I should make more money than I do”, ” I should be nicer or smarter or more disciplined or less angry or a better leader or father or mother or son or daughter.”. The shoulds can add up internally and they can also be directed at your team members and others. “They should work harder, be on time, take more initiative, be more willing to go the extra mile, etc.”
The question is, how does using the word “should” serve you? Does criticizing yourself and others by constantly telling yourself and them what they should or shouldn’t be doing elevate you, or them, to their highest potential?
TRY THIS… Spend a day noticing how many times you use or imply the word should to yourself or your team. Notice what you feel like when you believe those thoughts and what thoughts follow those. Are they helpful? Do they move you or your team member forward?
SWITCH THESE...your thoughts. A more proactive thought pattern than “should” is to ask yourself “What do I want?” and work from there. If you think you or someone else “should” be something other than the current reality of what you or they are right now, then what do you want? What steps need to be taken to get there?
As a leader, you have the opportunity to influence many people’s lives. You may want to first start with removing the word “should” from your internal and external dialog and see if it makes a difference in your desired outcomes.
I was very unsettled after I had spent a day doing something I thought I “should” do. Someone passed along some wise words his father taught him. He said, “Stop doing what you think you SHOULD do and just live your life.” My level of satisfaction with my professional and personal life quickly experienced the difference when I made that mind shift.