Shoulda Woulda Coulda

Crippling, Drowning Did
Oh! Shoulda, woulda, coulda
Judging, not Doing

Before I even get out of bed in the morning, I am plagued by the word should.

“I should get up now.”

 “No, I really want to sleep, it’s so warm and cozy in this bed.”

 “I should get up and get stuff done… emails, dishes, laundry, dirty floors, social media, research to complete, blogs to post, exercise, pet the dog, feed the cat, call my mother.”

Life is a constant barrage of shoulds.

“I should put my cat on a diet

I should walk the dog more

I should exercise more. Wait, who am I kidding? I should get some – any exercise

I should make sure the kids floss

I should answer that email that I neglected, return the phone call

I should eat only locally grown, organic food. Wait, who am I kidding? I live in Wisconsin and I’m not living off of carrots for the winter!

I should meditate, I should work more, I should …”

Augh! There is absolutely no way any human being can do all the shoulds in life. Should is one of the most debilitating words in this list of words that kill collaboration and productivity.

In fact, the time lapse in posting this very blog is proof in case. The more ’shouldness’ I placed on getting this done, the more I did anything – everything else.

Every day I woke up with a resolute should to get this post written. Then every day I self-sabotaged myself into abandoning my efforts and ended another day not doing it. The next day, the cycle continued.

Until today, a full month from the day I started ‘trying’ to work on this. Today I didn’t place a should around anything. Instead, it was simply I’m going to get this done.

Now, take this negative self-talk scenario and compound it by the number of people on your team. The little voice in our own heads is pretty darn loud. When someone else – more importantly someone whose opinion you respect – says, ‘What you/we should really do is…’, its an explosion!

Collaboration Challenge

Most of us use the phrase ‘What you should really do is, …’ at one time of another.   For some of us, it’s as common as the filler ‘um’. The next time you hear yourself starting to say this, stop. Think about your intention with what you are about to say. Is there another way you can convey the same idea in a supportive manner? When you hear others using it, notice the impact it has on your own mood and motivation. Does it propel you to accomplish the task? Or does it create a rebellion to do anything but the ‘should’?

5 Words That Kill Team Productivity

This post is number three in a series about the 5 words that kill team productivity. Read more about the other 4 words that also kill team productivity.

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