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7 Things Not to Say, and 7 Things to Start Saying

7 Things Not to Say, and 7 Things to Start Saying

Are you aware just how much impact the words you use on a daily basis have on your mood and your life in general?

Have you noticed the type of language you use? Not just verbally, but within your inner thoughts as well?

Language is a very powerful tool when it comes to mood control—both for ourselves and for those around us. It really can make the difference between a happy day and a stressful day, and below, I’ll give you some examples at to why this is.

As with many things, the first step is awareness; most people are blissfully unaware of how they speak, both internally and externally, so make a start by paying extra attention to what you’re saying both mentally, and aloud. Consider whether you’re using positive language or negative language. Are you really aware of exactly what you’re saying and how you’re phrasing your words?

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I’ve spent some time studying quantum linguistics, and there are a few common phrases that people use without realising just how negative they are. And when we think negatively, guess what? The negative thoughts spiral into negative actions, which then tun into real-life situations and problems. If we can nip those negative thoughts in the bud, we can save ourselves a whole lot of pain in the long run.

Here are 7 useless phrases to leave behind, and 7 useful phrases to start saying so you can start using language to your advantage!

7 Things to Avoid Saying

1. “I can’t…”

“Can’t” is a debilitating word that puts up a barrier between you and your goals—it’s like you’ve almost failed before you’ve begun. Someone very wise once said to me that there’s no such word as “can’t”. That’s a great way to look at things; give yourself a chance for success by ditching the word completely.

2. “I’ll try”

Have you ever “tried” to stand up. Try it now. Try to stand up. Did you do it? No, because it’s not possible to “try” and do something. When we say “I’ll try”, what we’re really saying is that we’re not ready to commit. As Yoda from Star Wars once said: “Do or do not. There is no try.”

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3. “I wish I didn’t have to…”

Otherwise known as moaning. No one likes to listen to someone groan on, and plus, it’s pointless to do so. If you don’t like something, then take action and change your situation. Otherwise, you might as well get on with life with a smile on your face!

4. “I should…”

The word “should” is inherently negative. “Should” implies a lose: lose situation and it’s just not conducive to positive outcomes in life. It’s a form of criticism, and it’s best left out of your everyday language. Instead of beating yourself up for what you should have done, focus on what you have the power to change.

5. “I need…”

How often do you proclaim a “need” for something, versus how often you genuinely need it? The word “need” creates an unhealthy dependency. The next time you hear yourself say this, have a re-think to determine if you really need what you’re talking about. If you don’t, then let go and minimize any negativity.

6. Pessimistic greetings like “Not bad” or “could be worse.”

I hear this all the time! So many people feel the need to buy into these common phrases without even thinking about what they are saying. They are so negative! Why not say something positive, or at least be honest? (There’s nothing worse than saying you’re “great” all the time if that’s not how you really feel.)

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7. “Never.”

The word “never” creates immediate restrictions on your life, and when we say that word, it’s very rarely an accurate reflection of the choices that are available to us. It closes our mind to solutions and creates unnecessary limits. Decide today to never say never again!

7 Things to Start Saying

1. “YES!”

Entrepreneur Richard Branson claims that making a conscious decision to say “yes” to more things is one of his secrets for success. Next time your natural instinct is to say no, try saying yes instead. Open your mind to a whole new world of possibilities and watch as your life suddenly becomes much more interesting.

2. “I’m lucky / grateful…”

It’s been proven that gratitude can relieve symptoms of depression and unhappiness. Before I go to sleep, I like to remind myself of 3 things each day that I’m grateful for, or lucky to have in my life. This is a nice way to go to bed with positive thoughts instead of being kept awake by worries or fears.

3. “I Will.”

This is a great replacement for “I’ll try”. Consider for a moment how much more powerful the words “I will” are, compared to “I’ll try”. By saying “I will”, you’re really committing to something and your goals suddenly feel possible. Don’t worry too much about whether you actually reach the goals or not—this is about you setting yourself up for success, not failure.

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4. “What if?”

This is a great alternative to words like “never” or “impossible”. Instead of limiting us, the phrase “what if?” creates possibility. It encourages solution-oriented thinking, which helps us to solve problems. The next time you feel as though a situation is hopeless, try asking yourself “what if?” and see what solutions pop up.

5. Positive Greetings such as “I’m well.”

Instead of saying “not bad” or “could be worse” when someone asks you how you are, try a simple “I’m well, thankyou” instead. Alternately, if you’re not having a great day, be honest but with a positive spin—“I’m not having the best day but I’m sure tomorrow will be better.”

6. Positive instructions such as “Remember to…”

If I said to you “Don’t think about a pink elephant” right now what did you just think of?  A pink elephant, right? So we’re actually thinking about the very thing we want to avoid. This can be really dangerous when we use instructions such as “don’t forget to pay the bills today” because all our brain hears is “forget to pay the bills!” If we flip our language so it’s positive, however, we get much better results. If you want to remember something, then tell yourself just that, instead of what you don’t want to do.

7. “Things could be worse…”

The next time you find yourself in a challenging situation, try re-framing your problem by comparing it to something worse. This is a great way to minimise the size of your problems. When we put things into context, we can gain perspective and suddenly our problems don’t feel as bad.

More by this author

Zoe B

A strategist, coach and blogger who shows people how to stop what isn't working for them in life and to start to plan the life they really want.

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Last Updated on March 14, 2019

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

Recruiters might hold thousands of interviews in their careers and a lot of them are reporting the same thing—that most candidates play it safe with the questions they ask, or have no questions to ask in a job interview at all.

For job applicants, this approach is crazy! This is a job that you’re going to dedicate a lot of hours to and that might have a huge impact on your future career. Don’t throw away the chance to figure out if the position is perfect for you.

Here are 7 killer questions to ask in a job interview that will both impress your counterpart and give you some really useful insights into whether this job will be a dream … or a nightmare.

1. What are some challenges I might come up against this role?

A lesser candidate might ask, “what does a typical day look like in this role?” While this is a perfectly reasonable question to ask in an interview, focusing on potential challenges takes you much further because it indicates that you already are visualizing yourself in the role.

It’s impressive because it shows that you are not afraid of challenges, and you are prepared to strategize a game plan upfront to make sure you succeed if you get the job.

It can also open up a conversation about how you’ve solved problems in the past which can be a reassuring exercise for both you and the hiring manager.

How it helps you:

If you ask the interviewer to describe a typical day, you may get a vibrant picture of all the lovely things you’ll get to do in this job and all the lovely people you’ll get to do them with.

Asking about potential roadblocks means you hear the other side of the story—dysfunctional teams, internal politics, difficult clients, bootstrap budgets and so on. This can help you decide if you’re up for the challenge or whether, for the sake of your sanity, you should respectfully decline the job offer.

2. What are the qualities of really successful people in this role?

Employers don’t want to hire someone who goes through the motions; they want to hire someone who will excel.

Asking this question shows that you care about success, too. How could they not hire you with a dragon-slayer attitude like that?

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How it helps you:

Interviewers hire people who are great people to work with, but the definition of “great people” differs from person to person.

Does this company hire and promote people with a specific attitude, approach, worth ethic or communication style? Are the most successful people in this role strong extroverts who love to talk and socialize when you are studious and reserved? Does the company reward those who work insane hours when you’re happiest in a more relaxed environment?

If so, then this may not be the right match for you.

Whatever the answer is, you can decide whether you have what it takes for the manager to be happy with your performance in this role. And if the interviewer has no idea what success looks like for this position, this is a sign to proceed with extreme caution.

3. From the research I did on your company, I noticed the culture really supports XYZ. Can you tell me more about that element of the culture and how it impacts this job role?

Of course, you could just ask “what is the culture like here? ” but then you would miss a great opportunity to show that you’ve done your research!

Interviewers give BIG bonus point to those who read up and pay attention, and you’ve just pointed out that (a) you’re diligent in your research (b) you care about the company culture and (c) you’re committed to finding a great cultural fit.

How it helps you:

This question is so useful because it lets you pick an element of the culture that you really care about and that will have the most impact on whether you are happy with the organization.

For example, if training and development is important to you, then you need to know what’s on offer so you don’t end up in a dead-end job with no learning opportunities.

Companies often talk a good talk, and their press releases may be full of shiny CSR initiatives and all the headline-grabbing diversity programs they’re putting in place. This is your opportunity to look under the hood and see if the company lives its values on the ground.

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A company that says it is committed to doing the right thing by customers should not judge success by the number of up-sells an employee makes, for instance. Look for consistency, so you aren’t in for a culture shock after you start.

4. What is the promotion path for this role, and how would my performance on that path be measured?

To be clear, you are not asking when you will get promoted. Don’t go there—it’s presumptuous, and it indicates that you think you are better than the role you have applied for.

A career-minded candidate, on the other hand, usually has a plan that she’s working towards. This question shows you have a great drive toward growth and advancement and an intention to stick with the company beyond your current state.

How it helps you:

One word: hierarchy.

All organizations have levels of work and authority—executives, upper managers, line managers, the workforce, and so on. Understanding the hierarchical structure gives you power, because you can decide if you can work within it and are capable of climbing through its ranks, or whether it will be endlessly frustrating to you.

In a traditional pyramid hierarchy, for example, the people at the bottom tend to have very little autonomy to make decisions. This gets better as you rise up through the pyramid, but even middle managers have little power to create policy; they are more concerned with enforcing the rules the top leaders make.

If having a high degree of autonomy and accountability is important to you, you may do better in a flat hierarchy where work teams can design their own way of achieving the corporate goals.

5. What’s the most important thing the successful candidate could accomplish in their first 3 months/6 months/year?

Of all the questions to ask in a job interview, this one is impressive because it shows that you identify with and want to be a successful performer, and not just an average one.

Here, you’re drilling down into what the company needs, and needs quite urgently, proving that you’re all about adding value to the organization and not just about what’s in it for you.

How it helps you:

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Most job descriptions come with 8, 10 or 12 different job responsibilities and a lot of them with be boilerplate or responsibilities that someone in HR thinks are associated with this role. This question gives you a better sense of which responsibilities are the most important—and they may not be what initially attracted you to the role.

If you like the idea of training juniors, for example, but success is judged purely on your sales figures, then is this really the job you thought you were applying for?

This question will also give you an idea of what kind of learning curve you’re expected to have and whether you’ll get any ramp-up time before getting down to business. If you’re the type of person who likes to jump right in and get things done, for instance, you may not be thrilled to hear that you’re going to spend the first three months shadowing a peer.

6. What do you like about working here?

This simple question is all about building rapport with the interviewer. People like to talk about themselves, and the interviewer will be flattered that you’re interested in her opinions.

Hopefully, you’ll find some great connection points that the two of you share. What similar things drive you head into the office each day? How will you fit into the culture?

How it helps you:

You can learn a lot from this question. Someone who genuinely enjoys his job will be able to list several things they like, and their answers will sound passionate and sincere. If not….well, you might consider that a red flag.

Since you potentially can learn a lot about the company culture from this question, it’s a good idea to figure out upfront what’s important to you. Maybe you’re looking for a hands-off boss who values independent thought and creativity? Maybe you work better in environments that move at a rapid, exciting pace?

Whatever’s important to you, listen carefully and see if you can find any common ground.

7. Based on this interview, do you have any questions or concerns about my qualifications for the role?

What a great closing question to ask in a job interview! It shows that you’re not afraid of feedback—in fact, you are inviting it. Not being able to take criticism is a red flag for employers, who need to know that you’ll act on any “coaching moments” with a good heart.

As a bonus, asking this question shows that you are really interested in the position and wish to clear up anything that may be holding the company back from hiring you.

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How it helps you:

What a devious beast this question is! On the surface, it looks straightforward, but it’s actually giving you four key pieces of information.

First, is the manager capable of giving you feedback when put on the spot like this? Some managers are scared of giving feedback, or don’t think it’s important enough to bother outside of a formal performance appraisal. Do you want to work for a boss like that? How will you improve if no one is telling you what you did wrong?

Second, can the manager give feedback in a constructive way without being too pillowy or too confrontational? It’s unfair to expect the interviewer to have figured out your preferred way of receiving feedback in the space of an interview, but if she come back with a machine-gun fire of shortcomings or one of those corporate feedback “sandwiches” (the doozy slipped between two slices of compliment), then you need to ask yourself, can you work with someone who gives feedback like that?

Third, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about before you leave the interview. This gives you the chance to make a final, tailored sales pitch so you can convince the interviewer that she should not be worried about those things.

Fourth, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about period. If turnover is keeping him up at night, then your frequent job hopping might get a lot of additional scrutiny. If he’s facing some issues with conflict or communication, then he might raise concerns regarding your performance in this area.

Listen carefully: the concerns that are being raised about you might actually be a proxy for problems in the wider organization.

Making Your Interview Work for You

Interviews are a two-way street. While it is important to differentiate yourself from every other candidate, understand that convincing the interviewer you’re the right person for the role goes hand-in-hand with figuring out if the job is the right fit for you.

Would you feel happy in a work environment where the people, priorities, culture and management style were completely at odds with the way you work? Didn’t think so!

More Resources About Job Interviews

Featured photo credit: Amy Hirschi via unsplash.com

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