The One Word that is Dis-Empowering You

You might think that coaches are beyond ‘triggers’ or emotional reactions. We’re not. In fact, I would even bet that in some instances we have more triggers than the average person because we’ve studied all the ways a person can disempower themselves in everyday actions.

Words for example… there are way too many that could trigger a coach. Today I want to talk about the most prevalent in my opinion. The one that steals all the joy out of anything, makes it all obligation and is a point of self-criticism.


Oh boy, just writing the word gives me the hee-bee-jeebies.

Should: used to indicate obligation, duty, or correctness, typically when criticizing someone’s actions.

Look at those words… obligation, correctness, criticizing. No wonder it gives me an icky feeling. However, let’s dive in and uncover why this word doesn’t need to live in the English language…


#1 Should is a judgment.

Should isn’t truth. It’s a judgment of what is wanted or expected to happen. It’s also a personal judgment. Look at politics – many people can have different opinions on what ‘should’ happen. We have to keep in mind that should isn’t truth.

#2 It’s shaming.

Oh, how many times I have shamed myself into things because I should do this or that. Again, these are just judgments – learned judgments at that. So if I don’t do that thing, I am in the wrong because I’m implying the only right thing is to do the thing. So I start like feeling like a bad person because I can’t be perfect…

#3 It asks perfection when we are not in fact perfect.

Oh man, we could should game ourselves all day, right? I could should myself all day long because I know a lot more than I could possibly do. There are a million ways to do a great job and each time you get closer to perfect, you are going to find more details that could be better, different, more detailed. Perfection is a moving target and we’ll always know more than we could do or be. Should desires perfection. Humans don’t fit that mold. It can just make us feel small and incompetent.

#4 It begs for rebellion.

Whenever I hear should, I can feel the rebellious child inside me say, “OR WHAT?” This means, I actually sabotage my great results because my inner rebel has been challenged  – and not in a helpful way if I truly want to accomplish whatever the should is.


Listen – you either choose it or you don’t.

It’s that simple. There is no should. There is choice. You could. There are options. You make the choice that is best for you.

TO-DO: Notice how often you use ‘Should’ on a daily basis. Watch out, we sneak them in there tricky-like. You may hear others say it to. Just repeat to yourself what might be a better choice. See if you can correct yourself or catch yourself shoulding yourself. What do you notice?


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