The Following Article was Published in the Cascade Business News, May 1999.

"Words to Eliminate to Succeed in Business"

By Ann Golden Eglé, PCC , CPCC Of Golden Visions Success Coaching

There are words that are not appropriate in the workplace, certainly not appropriate for a manager, supervisor or small business owner to utter. What are some of these? Perhaps they are not what you are thinking.

They are ‘can’t’, ‘but’, ‘should’, and ‘try’. What would happen to your overall morale and productivity if these words were eliminated, beginning today?

My job as personal coach is to move individuals forward in life. These words hold otherwise successful, productive, capable, skilled and talented people back. I want these words outlawed.

Example, one of my clients responds to every challenge that I give him with the words "I can’t". This is not a conscious statement. It is his programmed response, the way his mind works. "I can’t do it until tomorrow", rather than "I can do it tomorrow". These are two entirely different statements.

When his mind is on the initial ‘I can’t’, it focuses on all that stands in the way of his accomplishment, leaving no room for creativity or forward moving thinking. When his mind is focused on the latter, ‘I can’, it stimulates thoughts of precisely how he will accomplish the task. He envisions how it will come together and what the final product will look like.

‘But’ is one of my all time favorite cop outs. "I would have finished the project on time, but…", "I could have reached the goal, but…", "I would have made the sale, but…"

Fact is, the project was not completed on time, period. Don’t look for excuses brought about by the ‘but’, look for the learning. Does the timeline need to be lengthened? Support increased? Expectations more realistic? Communication more clear?

The excuse ‘but’ solves nothing. The learning produced by deeper investigation and analysis will move you forward and insure that the project does get accomplished on time next time.

‘Should’ is simply a killer to productivity. It is a weak, guilt producing, status quo word. "I should increase sales next quarter." What does that tell you? It may be a good idea? Will you or won’t you increase the sales? How committed are you? What is your intent? "I will increase sales", "I am committed to increasing sales", or "I intend to increase sales"! Now those are statements of action!

These action statements bring about more creative thinking, positive energy and confidence. Confidence breeds confidence which in turn produces the higher sales. The positive energy is a bonus to all involved.

And then there is ‘try’. Does this word conjure up visions of the little locomotive climbing up the hill saying "I’ll try, try, try to get up the hill. I did it! I did it!"

Unfortunately in business the vision is not so pleasant. Do you want a team who is willing to merely ‘try’ to accomplish the task? Or, do you want the actual accomplishment? Eliminate the word ‘try’ and the connotation that it brings about.

Begin to raise the bar on what you expect of yourself and your employees. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. The results may come sooner than you expect!

Ann Golden Eglé, CPPC, (certified Professional and Personal Coach) is the owner of GOLDEN VISIONS SUCCESS COACHING. Ann coaches professionals in sales, marketing, financial and small business endeavors throughout the U.S. and Canada and publishes a free coaching "Thought of the Week" which is distributed via e-mail. Ann can be reached at 541-385-8887 or

Reprinted with permission from Cascade Business News, May, 1999

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