Breaking Out of Should

Should is a nasty word.

It limits us, keeps us in a repetitive pattern of thinking and behavior. Think about it.

Our parents used the ‘should’ word to teach us their version of right and wrong, to take responsibility and to follow the local cultural and social rules. And yes, some ‘shoulds’ are good things. We should be responsible, contributing members of society. We should follow the important guidelines of humanity. We should brush our teeth:)

The problem?

‘Should’ limits our new thinking and behaviors.

An early mentor asked me to listen to my inner ‘shoulds’ for a day’. It was an unforgettable exercise.

I learned that my ‘shoulds’ were creating an inner struggle. They wanted to keep me and my behavior in line with the accepted norms of the day. Not one single should was supportive of being different – or distinctive. As a Rebel, I wanted a different path. So the internal dialogues began:

I should stay in my job, not build my own business. I was too young, it was too high risk. But I want to be a consultant and help many companies. I believe in me.

I should work fewer hours, stop traveling and settle down.But I love my work and want my freedom to explore this world of ours.

I should be afraid to travel to alone. But I want to climb the Himalyas, see Machu Picchu, dive in untouched waters.

I should work 5 days a week, 8-5 and live a normal life. I don’t want others’ normal – I want my own lifestyle and pace. I want to be free.

Thanks to that mentor, I began to break free of my ‘shoulds’. I started my consulting business at 29 and never looked back. I worked my tail-off and found fulfillment in my own way. I traveled to Nepal and climbed through amazing mountains – including a millenium trip to Everest. I dived with sharks and kayaked with whales in the middle of nowhere. I work a lot of hours, but on a very different schedule than the norm – one that supports my life priorities.

My point? I chose to abandon the ‘shoulds’ in favor of my truth in my life in my present.

Business ‘Shoulds’ Are No Different

A simple little ‘should’ keeps us stuck in our status quo.

When you hear someone say ‘We should’, it’s a surefire flag that we’re thinking based on a rule created in the past. t’s a harbinger of programming based on the history of our business, of business in general and ‘good sense’.

Yet how many great businesses were great because they did things the way they were done in the past? NONE.

We already know the fundamental principles about honesty, integrity and doing the right thing. That’s the primary value ‘should’ brings.

Which is why I think we should all kick ‘should’ out of our business vocabulary.

To be successful, we have to think beyond the status quo and the past. We have to think forward, about what we can do that is new and different, exciting and innovative. You’ll never find that associated with “should.”

Instead of asking “What should we do?”, ask something much more powerful.

“What CAN we do?”

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