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22 August, 2021

I possibly might but Ill try

by Rowena Hardy and Nick Bennett HAVE you ever stopped to truly listen to the words you use in your thinking and out loud?


The number of “maybe, should, probably will, might”, used when talking with someone or even to yourself (something that I do a lot much to Rowena’s amusement). Susan Scott reminds us of that with her statement “I’m always having a conversation with myself, sometimes it includes other people”. 

The reason that this comes up for me as something that needs attention is that it creates a real drag on getting things done with any commitment. We need to manage language. By that I mean make con-scious decisions using words and thoughts that pull us from the morass that indecision, procrastination, and ultimately what ends up as avoidance, creates. 

This is particularly relevant if you are a leader in a team, certainly if you are a business owner and critical if you have responsibilities for delivering to time pressure and a standard. I have run hundreds of leadership workshops, team alignment and strategy sessions and coached from executive level to frontline across Australia and beyond and this thing with limiting language is heard in all those diverse environments. 

 The one that most people connect with when  challenged is ‘try’. If you’ve been a Star Wars fan the image of Yoda sitting on a rock watching Luke Skywalker as he struggles to come to terms with his latent power saying “Use the Force Skywalker”, to which Skywalker says “I’m trying”. Yoda provides us with his guidance as he makes his wisdom known and points out “There is do or do not – there is no try”. 

These words cloud our clarity, our commitment and our capacity to truly perform. They create ambiguity and uncertainty for example, if you ask someone if they can get something completed by 3pm on Friday and they say “I’ll try” you are left wondering if they will or they won’t. We all have the “Force”, we just need get hold of the language we are using and make the statement to commit.

 Not “I’ll try” but “I will” or “I won’t” either way you’re making a clear decision. Not “probably” or “I guess” but clearly “Yes” or “No” either is fine! It is more than OK to make a clear decision. It is imperative if we want to get the best out of every day, every person and each experience that we encounter.

 If you are avoiding committing because you’re uncomfortable, need more time or information, don’t really want to or perhaps don’t want to upset someone then it’s time to step up and stop the compromise of your ‘self’. Nothing changes until you take control of the language you use and that will then determine the outcome you can achieve. If you’re up for it here’s the challenge; Listen to yourself when you’re ‘trying’ to avoid something. 

 Instead of ducking and weaving just say ‘Yes’ or ‘No’. There’s power in that. May the ‘Force’ be with you. 


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