When I started working with my latest coach, he set a couple of basic ground rules for me – no “what ifs” and no “shouldas”.  These made perfect sense to me, so I agreed to the rules and then in the next 45 minutes proceeded to SHOULD all over myself again and again.  I had no idea how often I was doing this in my own business and life.

When I am coaching my clients, I now have a new rule for them – No Shouldas, Wouldas, or Couldas.  The reasons for eliminating these have a few different dimensions, and might vary a little from business owner to business owner, but the fundamental reasons don’t change.

The primary reason I coach my clients to avoid these words is that it sets up a negative thought pattern in our minds, which can prevent us from moving forward as quickly as we would like.  When we utter these words, we are typically thinking about the past in a negative way, and there are a slew of other negative thoughts that come with Shoulda and Coulda that can get in the way of making the improvements we desire as we grow our businesses.

When a coaching client speaks one of these words, I simply say “You’re Right, But You Didn’t”.

The second reason to avoid these words is that we are where we are, and no amount of shouldas or couldas is going to change that for us.  The only thing that matters is what we choose to do NOW, not what we did or didn’t choose in the past.  If there is something to learn about a flaw in our decision making, let’s learn it and move forward, otherwise what you should, could, or would have done is now irrelevant.

Pay close attention to what you are telling yourself in your head, and what you say out loud to others.  The more positive and forward thinking we are, the faster we can achieve the success we seek in our business and our life!

Author: Mark McNulty, Business Coach in Louisville, KY