Lesson Learned - Eliminating "Try" From Your Vocabulary

November 19, 2020
# min read
Eileen Nonemaker

While listening to a coaching client a few months ago, small business owner working to make behavior changes, I heard him use the word "try" at least 10 - 12 times in our one hour session.

To "try" is to "make an attempt or effort" to do something, not necessarily to do it.

I asked him to stand up and to "try" to walk. He looked at me weirdly, stood up and took a step. There is no try to walk, you either do or you don't. By making him conscious of his use of the word "try", he began revising his statements to "I will record my time at the end of each day" and "I will be smoke free, not "I will try to quit smoking." I had hoped that his new found awareness would increase his success in making those changes to help him and help his business grow.

Last week on Saturday I received this email from the business owner's wife.

"Today Robert and I went together to pick the kids up from school. Nate (age 5) has had a rough few days with acting out and not following directions. On the way home, Robert and I talked to Nate about listening and being good, etc. His response was that he would try to listen to his teacher. Robert said that one of his teachers recently said to him that there was no reason to try to listen, he either did or he didn't. There was no trying involved. I thought of you and just wanted to say thank you. Robert's got it! Lots of love and thanks for the lesson learned."

Stories like this just make my day and reinforce why I do, what I do!

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