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10 Words People Who Are Not Confident Always Use

10 Words People Who Are Not Confident Always Use

A famous comedian relates this anecdote about his start in show business. He had a minor role in a biblical stage play with a short speaking part to be delivered as he assisted a high-ranking Roman soldier.

The dialogue was pretty straightforward. The Roman soldier was to ask him, “Is my sword ready?” and he was to answer, “It is.” He rehearsed his two-worded line endlessly. The theater was full on opening night, which made him quite nervous.

Finally, his one shining moment came.

Roman soldier: “Is my sword ready?”

His loud, excited reply: “Is it?”

And that was the end of his stage career.

Words, even when monosyllabic, carry meaning, and the subtlest of adjustments can totally flip the table (or the script). More importantly, words have manifesting power. If you find yourself short on confidence, check to see if these words form part of your regular dialogue.

1. Might

“I might take the college entrance test.”
“I might fail.”
“I might just forget about college.”

Might is an ambivalent word that shows a lack of intention and direction. Using might on your weekly planning, daily to-do lists, or in response to others’ requests could result in tasks left undone. That’s precisely because in your thoughts and speech, you don’t appear to care either way. Eliminate this word from your vocabulary. Go for a YES or NO. If you are not sure about whether or not to do a task, think “maybe” but give it a deadline and convert soon to a YES or NO. It’s not about saying yes all the time; it’s about making a decision either way. You move from not confident to decisive.

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2. Won’t

“It won’t work.”

“I won’t be able to do that.”

Won’t is a defeatist word that assumes failure in a race even before the first step is taken. People who think and say this word often base their negative thinking on a couple of past experiences. When you conclude in your mind that a process, a project, or you will fail, that is exactly what will happen. Open your belief to the real probability of success with, “That could work” or, “Yes, I think I can do that.” As you become more optimistic, good results will start happening to move you from not confident to positive thinker.

3. Usually

“This is usually the way we do it.”

“I usually work better solo.”

Usually is a status quo-type of word that accepts things as they are. Things are just that way, end of story. It’s a word that closes the door to finding newer, better ways of doing things. It’s sometimes used to justify laziness. Instead, think of alternatives, options, and new things. Be willing to think and say “We can try another way” or “I will take a chance working with this team,” and get ready to be surprised by your adaptability and other new discoveries. As new things become usual to you, your experience and expertise grows. And so does your confidence.

4. Suspect

“I suspect there will be a company takeover.”

“I suspect there is a catch to their proposal offer.”

Unlike the previous words, which mostly affects the speaker, suspect brings a shadow of suspicion on another person’s motive and sows intrigue and fear in others. Verbalizing your negative thinking contaminates those around you. It causes low morale and an air of distrust that affects relationships and productivity. Drop suspect altogether from your thoughts and speech. Stop judging, accept news and gestures at face value, and improve your interpersonal skills.

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5. Impossible

“That’s impossible; it has never been done.”

“It’s impossible for me to work with [fill in person, task, or department].”

Impossible combines the defeatism of won’t and the status quo of usually to firmly lock the door to new successes. The danger of impossible is in the passion you use when you say the word, often with a raised voice and a strong hand gesture. The stronger the feeling that is attached to a word, the surer and sooner it will manifest. As you continue to use impossible in your thoughts and words, you will notice less positive things happening in your life. From not confident, you could drop to outright fearful. Throw out impossible from your vocabulary. Shift to “not possible” and then to “could be possible” and finally to “Yes, it can be done!”

6. Worried

“I’m worried about my presentation.”

“I’m worried the client will not be satisfied.”

Worried is the reason people are not confident. Being worried comes from imagining a bad or worst case scenario. Its two components are (1) thinking ahead and (2) fearing a negative outcome. When you find yourself thinking ahead to the day of your presentation or project submission, summon a positive image of a supportive audience and an impressed client. Smile, hear the audience applauding, and feel the firm handshake of your happy client. If you are unable to imagine a positive image, then focus only on the present moment as you complete the project and prepare for the presentation. Pediatricians chat up children to talk about something interesting and then swiftly deliver the shot. They know it’s the fear of the needle—not the actual shot—that makes the process worrisome.

7. Confused

“I’m confused about my team leader’s work expectations.”

“I’m confused if he wants to seriously continue this relationship.”

Sometimes, a confusing situation is to be blamed for the ambivalence of might and the defeatist attitude of won’t. If you don’t know what your work objective is, you won’t be able to take steps to get there. If you don’t know how you stand in a relationship, you won’t know how committed you can be. Among the words people who are not confident use, confused is the simplest to get rid of. Get yourself out of the confusion to a place of clear understanding by speaking to your team leader or your significant other. Ask clear, direct questions. Explain you want to understand their expectations so you can act accordingly, from not confident to sure of yourself.

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8. Need

“I need to buy expensive suits before I go to any job interview.”

“I need to be sure there is no risk of getting turned down before I ask her out.”

Need acts like a stalling tactic and a justification for failing. It’s also a dream stopper. It’s you setting up conditions—which are often unnecessary—for you to succeed. Many people say this common dialogue that applies to any dream.

“I want to write a book but …”

“I need to finish sending all my children to college first.”

“I need to keep working to save up.”

“I need to find time to focus.”

“I need to take some writing courses.”

“I need to gather more writing experience.”

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If they end up not living the dream, they give the above reasons for their so-called failure, which is actually a non-start. It’s better to try and fail, than to fail to try. The experience of engaging in an action or a relationship is far more important than the result. When you are not too attached to the results, you actually don’t need much to start.

9. Quandary

“I’m in quandary about staying with the company or going freelance.”

“It’s a big quandary for me—take the overseas job offer or stay and nurture this promising relationship.”

Being in a quandary, unlike being confused, means you know the consequences of each choice, but you are uncertain of how much impact it will have down the road. You’re unsure if you’re ready to give up one thing for something else. It takes time, research, and lots of contemplation to get out of a quandary. Give yourself time to weigh things, but do not stay in quandary for longer than necessary, so you don’t get stuck. Don’t rush your decision either. When you do arrive at a decision, move forward and don’t look back.

10. Likely

“I will likely meet the deadline.”

“The client will likely disagree with our proposal.”

Likely is very similar to the ambivalent might but has a higher probability of happening, positively or negatively. It still is not certain. Likely comes across as uncommitted and shows a lack of effort or motivation to make it a sure thing. To change likely to a definite YES, find out what it is about the project or the proposal that is giving you doubts and address them one by one. Like might, this is about removing those doubts and making a definite decision, either way. Go from almost confident to assuredly so.

All these words have an air of uncertainty and negativity that feeds on such feelings and creates a cycle of negative beliefs and negative outcomes. End the cycle with naturally gained self confidence. Be clear about what YOU want. You don’t want anything bad happening, so that’s where you start. Visualize a positive experience and outcome and then take steps to produce that. In such a scenario, not-confident will have absolutely NO part.

Featured photo credit: Peter via flickr.com

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Last Updated on January 24, 2021

How to Say No When You Know You Say Yes Too Often

How to Say No When You Know You Say Yes Too Often

Do you say yes so often that you no longer feel that your own needs are being met? Are you wondering how to say no to people?

For years, I was a serial people pleaser[1]. Known as someone who would step up, I would gladly make time, especially when it came to volunteering for certain causes. I proudly carried this role all through grade school, college, even through law school. For years, I thought saying “no” meant I would disappoint a good friend or someone I respected.

But somewhere along the way, I noticed I wasn’t quite living my life. Instead, I seem to have created a schedule that was a strange combination of meeting the expectations of others, what I thought I should be doing, and some of what I actually wanted to do. The result? I had a packed schedule that left me overwhelmed and unfulfilled.

It took a long while, but I learned the art of saying no. Saying no meant I no longer catered fully to everyone else’s needs and could make more room for what I really wanted to do. Instead of cramming too much in, I chose to pursue what really mattered. When that happened, I became a lot happier.

And guess what? I hardly disappointed anyone.

The Importance of Saying No

When you learn the art of saying no, you begin to look at the world differently. Rather than seeing all of the things you could or should be doing (and aren’t doing), you start to look at how to say yes to what’s important.

In other words, you aren’t just reacting to what life throws at you. You seek the opportunities that move you to where you want to be.

Successful people aren’t afraid to say no. Oprah Winfrey, considered one of the most successful women in the world, confessed that it was much later in life when she learned how to say no. Even after she had become internationally famous, she felt she had to say yes to virtually everything.

Being able to say no also helps you manage your time better.

Warren Buffett views “no” as essential to his success. He said:

“The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”

When I made “no” a part of my toolbox, I drove more of my own success, focusing on fewer things and doing them well.

How We Are Pressured to Say Yes

It’s no wonder a lot of us find it hard to say no.

From an early age, we are conditioned to say yes. We said yes probably hundreds of times in order to graduate from high school and then get into college. We said yes to find work, to get a promotion, to find love and then yes again to stay in a relationship. We said yes to find and keep friends.

We say yes because we feel good when we help someone, because it can seem like the right thing to do, because we think that is key to success, and because the request might come from someone who is hard to resist.

And that’s not all. The pressure to say yes doesn’t just come from others. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves.

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At work, we say yes because we compare ourselves to others who seem to be doing more than we are. Outside of work, we say yes because we are feeling bad that we aren’t doing enough to spend time with family or friends.

The message, no matter where we turn, is nearly always, “You really could be doing more.” The result? When people ask us for our time, we are heavily conditioned to say yes.

How Do You Say No Without Feeling Guilty?

Deciding to add the word “no” to your toolbox is no small thing. Perhaps you already say no, but not as much as you would like. Maybe you have an instinct that if you were to learn the art of no that you could finally create more time for things you care about.

But let’s be honest, using the word “no” doesn’t come easily for many people.

3 Rules of Thumbs for Saying No

1. You Need to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

Let’s face it. It is hard to say no. Setting boundaries around your time, especially you haven’t done it much in the past, will feel awkward. Your comfort zone is “yes,” so it’s time to challenge that and step outside that.

If you need help getting out of your comfort zone, check out this article.

2. You Are the Air Traffic Controller of Your Time

When you want to learn how to say no, remember that you are the only one who understands the demands for your time. Think about it: who else knows about all of the demands in your life? No one.

Only you are at the center of all of these requests. You are the only one that understands what time you really have.

3. Saying No Means Saying Yes to Something That Matters

When we decide not to do something, it means we can say yes to something else that we may care more about. You have a unique opportunity to decide how you spend your precious time.

6 Ways to Start Saying No

Incorporating that little word “no” into your life can be transformational. Turning some things down will mean you can open doors to what really matters. Here are some essential tips to learn the art of no:

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1. Check in With Your Obligation Meter

One of the biggest challenges to saying no is a feeling of obligation. Do you feel you have a responsibility to say yes and worry that saying no will reflect poorly on you?

Ask yourself whether you truly have the duty to say yes. Check your assumptions or beliefs about whether you carry the responsibility to say yes. Turn it around and instead ask what duty you owe to yourself.

2. Resist the Fear of Missing out (FOMO)

Do you have a fear of missing out (FOMO)? FOMO can follow us around in so many ways. At work, we volunteer our time because we fear we won’t move ahead. In our personal lives, we agree to join the crowd because of FOMO, even while we ourselves aren’t enjoying the fun.

Check in with yourself. Are you saying yes because of FOMO or because you really want to say yes? More often than not, running after fear doesn’t make us feel better[2].

3. Check Your Assumptions About What It Means to Say No

Do you dread the reaction you will get if you say no? Often, we say yes because we worry about how others will respond or because of the consequences. We may be afraid to disappoint others or think we will lose their respect. We often forget how much we are disappointing ourselves along the way.

Keep in mind that saying no can be exactly what is needed to send the right message that you have limited time. In the tips below, you will see how to communicate your no in a gentle and loving way.

You might disappoint someone initially, but drawing a boundary can bring you the freedom you need so that you can give freely of yourself when you truly want to. And it will often help others have more respect for you and your boundaries, not less.

4. When the Request Comes in, Sit on It

Sometimes, when we are in the moment, we instinctively agree. The request might make sense at first. Or we typically have said yes to this request in the past.

Give yourself a little time to reflect on whether you really have the time or can do the task properly. You may decide the best option is to say no. There is no harm in giving yourself the time to decide.

5. Communicate Your “No” with Transparency and Kindness

When you are ready to tell someone no, communicate your decision clearly. The message can be open and honest[3] to ensure the recipient that your reasons have to do with your limited time.

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How do you say no? 9 Healthy Ways to Say “No”

    Resist the temptation not to respond or communicate all. But do not feel obligated to provide a lengthy account about why you are saying no.

    Clear communication with a short explanation is all that is needed. I have found it useful to tell people that I have many demands and need to be careful with how I allocate my time. I will sometimes say I really appreciate that they came to me and for them to check in again if the opportunity arises another time.

    6. Consider How to Use a Modified No

    If you are under pressure to say yes but want to say no, you may want to consider downgrading a “yes” to a “yes but…” as this will give you an opportunity to condition your agreement to what works best for you.

    Sometimes, the condition can be to do the task, but not in the time frame that was originally requested. Or perhaps you can do part of what has been asked.

    Final Thoughts

    Beginning right now, you can change how you respond to requests for your time. When the request comes in, take yourself off autopilot where you might normally say yes.

    Use the request as a way to draw a healthy boundary around your time. Pay particular attention to when you place certain demands on yourself.

    Try it now. Say no to a friend who continues to take advantage of your goodwill. Or, draw the line with a workaholic colleague and tell them you will complete the project, but not by working all weekend. You’ll find yourself much happier.

    More Tips on How to Say No

    Featured photo credit: Chris Ainsworth via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] Science of People: 11 Expert Tips to Stop Being a People Pleaser and Start Doing You
    [2] Anxiety and Depression Association of America: Tips to Get Over Your FOMO, or Fear of Missing Out
    [3] Cooks Hill Counseling: 9 Healthy Ways to Say “No”

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