The Upside of Shifting from Should to Could

There is a difference between should and could. “Should” always has a judgment attached to it and “could” offers you choices. It doesn’t matter if you say it or think it, every time you use “should” you set up an internal resistance. You may not even be aware of the resistance, but it is there.

When you shift your language to “could” it opens up choices about how you want to move forward, or not. Choice gives you the ability to discern the many possibilities you do have and then choose the one you want to do. It may very well be the action that you thought you should take, but when you have entered into it freely, you eliminate resistance. The entire process becomes more fluid and you get to the end result much more quickly and with less angst.

The difference between should and could seems to be one of semantics and yet there is a significant difference. You may not even be aware of how often you think or say you “should” do something. For example, “I should get those to-do’s done!” “I should drop twenty pounds because I have a reunion in two months.” How successful has that been? In each instance when you shift “should” to “could” you have choices.

“I should get those to-do’s done!” often leads to overwhelm because it feels insurmountable. You see the entire task as one big chunk and those 15 items on your list loom large. When you shift to, “I could get those to-do’s done.” it gives you choice about doing them or not. It also gives you choice about how you want to tackle the list.

You might decide you want to do those things because it moves your business forward. Another option would be to break them down into manageable chunks and then schedule them. Or, you could find a creative way to put items together and delegate them! Once you release your internal resistance you have a clear path toward completing the project.

I can hear some of you saying, “If I give myself a choice then I won’t do anything.” Not true! You will find that you can move forward with more clarity, more effectiveness, and less angst. When you are operating from “should” you set up a double whammy. You judge yourself and believe you need to force yourself to do something. Then you reinforce the belief that you can’t trust yourself because you resist doing the very thing you think you need to do!

When you shift to “could” you open up more space to be creative and step into action you really want to take. It no longer feels like you have backed yourself into a corner with no options. This next week, notice when you think or say “should”. See what happens when you shift “should” to “could.” I think you will be pleasantly surprised as you create more possibilities. Leave your comments below. I would love to hear the outcome of your experiment.

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