Do You Have a Bad Case of the ‘Shoulds’?

We often put a lot of expectations on ourselves or have them put on us by others in our lives. While we may not be able to control those around us, we can control how we treat and talk to ourselves.

I’ve recently been working with a client who has a new boss and is getting to grips with how to work with her. She is almost in the panic zone because she feels she ‘should’ be doing more. We’ve spent time discussing how ‘should’ can bring up a resistance, and how changing that word to ‘want’ or ‘would like’ to can help to avoid this.

We often give ourselves a bad case of the ‘shoulds’. The word ‘should’ is almost followed up by ‘but I don’t want to’ or ‘but I haven’t’. This sets us up for feeling guilty and punishing ourselves for not achieving what we feel we should have. It’s a bit like saying ‘I have to’. It leaves us feeling powerless and as though we haven’t done enough already.

Think about why you want to do something. Check in with how the activity fits in with your work, personal and career goals. At work, we do sometimes have to do things we don’t necessarily want to, but you can still align these to your performance goals or how it supports your team, for example. If you feel annoyed or frustrated about an activity, then think about why. Is it not something that aligns with your goals or helps you to develop?

Next time you think you ‘should’ do something, try using the following phrases instead:

  • I want to
  • I would like to
  • I could do
  • I would do

When do you give yourself a bad case of the ‘shoulds’? Professional coaching can help you to shift this mindset to a more positive one. Get in touch if you would like to find out more about my coaching services.