Language creates fear and pain, joy and happiness, ups and downs. And one of the most destructive words we frequently use is the word “should.”

I coached 16 CFOs in two days at a business convention. A significant number of these executives were frustrated with where their lives and careers currently were.

One gentleman questioned his ability to move to the next corporate level. Another was exhausted trying to balance a work schedule and his home life. One woman actually considered our conversation her last chance before submitting her resignation!

What word did I hear most often? You guessed it – should!

  • I should do this because I’ve been in the business 20 years.
  • I should stay because of my financial responsibilities.
  • They shouldn’t treat me like this.
  • I should do X but I want to do Y.

Should is a word describing societal norms, not the actions of successful people who are living their ideal life.

However you define success, a successful person is one who doesn’t do things because they think they should. They take actions because they have a desire, passion or heartfelt motivation.

– At the top of a page, write the phrase “I should…” and then fill the page with all the things you ‘should’ about in your life. Now, on another sheet of paper, rewrite only those you will begin with the phrase “I choose to …”.

What becomes apparent to you? And what are you going to choose to do next about it?

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