LeaderShift Project Articles

Confidence is contagious, right? 

A smile. An encouraging word. A positive outlook on a problem. Whether you recognize them or not, such details are part of what makes us successful leaders. 

But we are our own worst critics. That little voice in our heads weighs heavily on everything we do and say, regardless of what other people say. It is our thoughts alone that can lead to feelings of demoralization and inadequacy, resulting in imposter syndrome and other issues. But only if you let it.

So, you might ask, “How to become more confident?” Tell that negative voice in your head to SHUT IT. 

To become more confident, only you can make things better– no one else.

Be yourself and own that. If you feel inadequate, remember that everybody feels like one sometimes.

And leader or not, confidence is something we should all strive for. The more you have, the better your relationships with others and the more successful you can be. There are many ways to become more confident, and the first step is to change how you speak to others and especially to yourself.

Here are eleven phrases you can eliminate from your vocabulary that will help you become more confident (paraphrased from this article from CNBC).


The 11 phrases to eliminate to become more confident


1) “I have to do that” 

Replace with: “I get to do that.” The idea is to focus on the positive, not the negative. Don’t get stuck in a rut by saying something negative over and over again. Instead, look at it as an opportunity to learn something new.


2) “I can’t do that”

Replace with: “I can try to do that.” 

By trying, you become more confident. Trying means that you are open to the possibility of doing it, whereas saying you can’t do something is a definitive statement that leaves no room for discussion. The more you practice this phrase, the easier it will become for you to try new things.


3) “I should do that.”

Replace with: “I will do that” or “I won’t do that.”

The words “should” and “could” can be used to make excuses. The new phrases are powerful because it creates a sense of commitment (or non-commitment). By using them, you take control of the situation and give yourself permission to act or abstain.


4) “Why is this happening to me?”

Replace with: “What am I learning from this?”

Everything has a lesson, and we can learn from our mistakes and become more confident.


5) “I never should have.”

Replace with: “Because I did that, now I know _____”

When something goes wrong, it’s easy to look back and think about all the things you could have done differently. Stop dwelling on what you did or didn’t do in the past. Instead, look to the future so you can become more confident and successful.

Instead, focus on the fact that you did what you did and gain insight from it. This way, if the same situation arises again, you’ll have a better idea of how to handle it. 


6) “I failed.”

Replace with: “This attempt didn’t work for me.”

Failure is nothing to be afraid of. It’s a part of life and business. The more attempts you make and allow yourself to fail, the more you’ll learn how to succeed.


7) “If only I had done…”

Replace with: Nothing… don’t regret your learning!!!

It’s not worth dwelling on the past– it’s over and done with. It’s too late to change it now, so don’t waste your energy on regret. Instead, use that energy to focus on what you can do now.


8) “This is too complicated”

Replace with: “I don’t understand this right now.”

Lots of things are complicated but if you don’t understand it, that doesn’t mean it can’t be simplified.  

There is a saying that the only way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time. In essence, it means that even the biggest, most overwhelming, and even impossible things are possible. By taking one step at a time, you will become more confident and successful.


9) “It’s not fair”

Replace with: “I can deal with it anyway.”

Maybe you were passed on a promotion or an excellent employee just quit, but your mindset will affect the outcome of whatever happens to you. It can help you diminish rejection and become more confident in yourself over time.

The sooner we accept this, the better off we’ll be.


10) “It’s never going to change.”

Replace with: “I can change the way I approach this.”

There are many things in life that you cannot control, but you can control the way you approach them. Any change begins here, including becoming more confident as a leader.   

When you tell yourself that something is never going to change, you’ve given up on improving anything. Instead of focusing on how to change things, think of new ways to approach them.


11) “Never” or “Always”

Replace with: Avoid absolutes all together.

Absolutes limit your options. And when your options are limited, so is your mindset. Remain open-minded and flexible when it comes to making decisions.

By using these words, you appear rigid and difficult to your employees, clients, and other people. Eliminate unnecessary negativity in your conversations and make them more positive. 


Becoming more confident and improving communication

A successful leader must possess many qualities, and one of them is the ability to inspire others to follow. One way in which a good leader can inspire those under their charge is by leading by example, and practicing proper communication skills. 

These eleven phrases won’t always lead to positive outcomes, so if you want to become more confident in your speech, it’s recommended that you avoid them at all costs.

Which one are you going to eliminate from your vocabulary first?

And if you’re looking for some mindset medicine, I’ve got a PDF jam packed with re-frames to get you back on track.

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