What do you fear?
Failure? Success? Or being called a dork?
Well, good thing you’re never alone. Everyone wrestles with their fears at one point or another. Some are more successful than others.
Today we’re fighting against something much bigger, smarter and scarier than the sable-toothed tiger of the past.
We’re fighting against ourselves.
So, what makes some people more successful than others? It boils down to language.
Allow me to introduce you to a new vocabulary of power words. I learned these words from reading Susan Jeffers’s classic book “Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway“. I now refer to this list every time I need to empower myself. I know this list will help you as much as it has helped me.
NOTE: The words on the left belong to the victim mentality. The words on the right belong to the person who feels the fear, but does it anyway. So, keep your eye out on the right.
I can’t v. I won’t
According to Susan Jeffers, any fear can be translated to: “I CAN’T HANDLE IT”. The words “I can’t” make you feel powerless, as if you are left with no options.
“I won’t”, on the other hand, implies that you take a stand. You refuse to be treated like a victim. You take charge and decide what you will or will not do.
Whenever you want to say “I can’t”, try to say “I won’t” instead. See the difference it makes in your day-to-day life.
I should v. I could
How many times have you heard that:
- “You should go to a good college”
- “You should get a real job” (whatever that means)
- “You should get married”
The problem I have with “should” is that it restrains me. It feels more like an obligation than something I truly want to do. It limits my options and narrows my train of thought.
Compare it with the more powerful word “could”. Of course, I could go to a good college. I could get a “real” job”. I could get married. But hey, if I don’t go to college I think I’ll be just fine. I mean just look at this list of college dropout billionaires.
They decided they could do something else instead. And so they did.
It’s not my fault v. I’m totally responsible
We’re not in kindergarten any more. Don’t blame your mistakes and failures on others. It’s childish and self-destructive.
Learn to take responsibility instead. It’s the only way you can grow and begin to tackle your fears.
It’s a problem v. It’s an opportunity
You’re either part of the problem or you’re part of the solution.
Problems are great. Do you know why? Because they need to be solved. We need you to help us solve them. So stop whining and start figuring out solutions instead. It’s a lot more rewarding and people will love you for it.
The world belongs to those who learn to turn problems into opportunities. Get into the habit of seeing opportunities where others see problems, and your life will never be the same again.
I’m never satisfied v. I want to learn and grow
We live in a society shaped by consumerism. We’ve been taught to think that more stuff equals more happiness. That’s not enough for most people. We’re not satisfied. We feel empty and lost inside. We don’t want more stuff. We want to make a difference. We want to live a fun and meaningful life.
That’s why I’m writing this blog. I’m sharing my journey with you because I want to inspire you to live the life you deserve. Together, we help each other learn and grow. It’s a lot more fun that way.
If you want to live a more fun and meaningful life, check out my free e-class.
Life’s a struggle v. Life’s an adventure
Even when life’s difficult, you can still make it into an adventure. Don’t blame a bad day!
Take responsibility for your life. You could go somewhere new, meet someone who will give you energy, or get inspired by the adventurous spirits found in films, music and books.
Always remember: the choice is yours.
I hope v. I know
“I hope” sounds like you’re trying to live a dream. It sounds like you’re insecure about what you’re doing and how things will turn out. As a result, you will look like someone who’s insecure and lacking confidence.
Compare it to “I know”. This phrase belongs to confident people. If you want to practice your confidence, use “I know”. See what a difference it makes. I’ve found that when I use this phrase I become more confident because I take a stand on something.
Try it for yourself!
If only v. Next time
It’s so easy to look back at your past mistakes and blame yourself. Not only is this dumb, it’s only dangerous for your well-being. Let’s look at a few examples:
- “If only I would have signed up to that class”
- “If only I had more time”
- “If only I wouldn’t have moved in with someone who asks stupid questions”
“If only” allows you to stay in the past. It’s a very dangerous trap, indeed. Translate your “if only” statements into lessons for the next time that you’re in a similar situation. They will help you a lot!
What will I do? v. I know I can handle it
We walk around with so many worries in our heads:
- What will I do if I lose my job?
- What will I do if my partner dies?
- What will I do if I become poor?
All these phrases scream out: “I CAN’T HANDLE IT!” We are experts at painting these terrible scenarios in our minds. It’s what our brain loves to do.
No wonder, then, I have trouble to incorporate this new power phrase into my life: “I know I can handle it!”
Say it loudly and proudly to yourself before you go to bed, when you’re in the bathroom, and when you’re on your way to work. Those six powerful words change the way you think about yourself. And you know what they say, your actions follow your thoughts.
Go ahead. I know you can handle it.
It’s terrible v. It’s a learning experience
Yes, I’m going to end on a slightly cheesy note. Most terrible events that have happened to me have often been my most valuable learning experiences.
Whatever stage you’re in right now, trust me, I understand that things are tough. And that’s OK. But you can turn it around and make it into a learning experience. Just let these power words guide your thoughts and actions.
Use your new power vocabulary
Below is a summary of the power words I use in this article. I want you to use them as often as you can. Let them help you with your fears.
- “I won’t”
- “I could”
- “I’m totally responsible”
- “It’s an opportunity”
- “I want to learn and grow”
- “Life’s an adventure”
- “I know”
- “Next time”
- “I know I can handle it!”
- “It’s a learning experience”
Over to you
Please stop treating yourself like a victim. You’re worth so much more! Bookmark this page and come back to it whenever you need the language to empower yourself.
What did you think of these power words? Do you have any words that you’d like to add to the list? Please share them in the comments. As always, I’m here to help you in any way I can. Let’s feel the fear and do it anyway!
Flickr Photo by Nicki Varkevisser
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