We all know that language is a crucial communication tool. The powerful use of words can be influential in a crowd and at the workplace, as well as in our daily lives. But it isn’t just about getting a point across to the world: words are the building blocks for our frame of mind that impacts the results we create, that empowers and motivates. Once you realize this, it becomes clear that bringing awareness to the words used by the inner voice is just as critical as being careful with the words we use with others.

3 words to ban from your vocabulary:

1. “Can’t.”
It is a weakening and disempowering word. As we grow up, we start to put ourselves in a box and believe that box to be our reality, even though what we are capable of is often greater and wider than we can imagine. When you say “I can’t”, you are giving power to your limitations, not your possibilities. Once you say it enough, “I can’t hike up that hill,” then quite simply, you never will.

  • Instead say: “Right now, I am not physically trained.” You just opened up A NEW possibility of getting the training you need to one day accomplish the hike.

2. “Wish.” 
There is no magic box or wizard out there to grant your wishes! Our dreams require hard work, planning, and support. We can wish to be CEO, but we have to stop wishing and start DOING to make it happen. That could mean late nights, lots of networking, developing soft and hard skills.

  • Instead say: “I desire.” Go ahead, say it out loud. Using the words want or desire to express yourself communicates clarity and an active voice. If sentences that start with “I wish” sound passive and somewhat uninspired, sentences that start with “I desire” indicate passion and purpose.

3. “But.” Notice if you asked yourself, “but why?” it reduces any statement you just made, it’s a downer! You were going to do X “but”…. and there is often an excuse that follows. It’s also usually argumentative. People offer solutions to our concerns, and when we are not willing to listen or change, we counter with a “but” and an excuse for why it won’t work. It’s the language of disempowerment.

  • Instead say: “And.” Watch out for the openness you create in your mind and in the responses you receive when you replace your “ifs” and “buts” with “ands” and “sures.”

3 words to always use:

1. “Choose”
You can see immediately how it lifts the energy when you say “I choose to” instead of “I have to” or “I need to.” Say, “I choose to stay late tonight at work,” and not “I have to work late,” which creates the feeling of pressure. Or, perhaps you choose NOT to, which is also fine instead of “I can’t” or “I won’t.” It speaks from a place of direction and responsibility. Another effective alternative is, “I intend.”

2. “Know”
If you know something, say it! Confident people are not afraid to say “I know” while the rest of the group hides behind, “I think” and “maybe.” In the same vein, feel comfortable with admitting you don’t know and have to do some research. The confident woman is also not afraid to build up people around her and is much more likely to say, “You’re awesome and I KNOW you can do it,” instead of, “I really think you can do this,” which does not convince or encourage anyone.

3. “Thank You”
As writer G.B. Stern said: “Silent gratitude isn’t much use to anyone.” Gratitude is important to the speaker and the listener. When you say “thank you”, make it specific, timely and genuine. As a leader, acknowledging the work of another allows you to put in perspective the role of those around and stay humble. For the listener, it creates the feeling of being appreciated and valued. A confident woman always expresses her gratitude with a clear and present “thank you.”