And while you’re at it, are you ready to drop the ‘just’ and ‘sorry’ too?

Do you often find yourself thinking or saying I should do x, y or z? Or do you often or sometimes feel guilty for not doing something you ‘should have’ done.

Should and should have are, in my opinion, two of the most redundant words/phrases in the English language. If you’re weighed down by all the ‘shoulds’, is it perhaps time to let them go? It’s time to replace them with what you want to do and what you will do.

Start by asking yourself where the ‘should’ comes from. Is it an expectation that someone else is putting on you? Or is it a misguided expectation or pressure that you’re placing on yourself? Is it guilt talking?

Do you look around you, at how colleagues, friends, siblings and extended family are living, the choices they’re making? Maybe this is hugely impacting the choices that you are making and how you think you ‘should’ be living your life.

What expectation(s) are you putting on yourself that’s coming from what you think others think you should be doing?

We need to get smarter about recognising what our own driving forces are, what motivates us.

Career advice for teenagers and young adults is an interesting one and often misguided. You should study medicine because you have great grades. You should be an accountant because you’re great at maths. You should study law because three generations of your family have done so before you. Are these valid reasons by which to choose a career? What about if the area really interests you? What about your personality and the social or emotional intelligence skills needed for that career? Are they a good fit for that career?

And then later in life, through my executive coaching programs, I work with many women coming back to work after maternity leave where guilt is often a major factor. There is so much guilt for working mums, in Ireland especially.

Some feel guilty for not feeling guilty and actually relishing the thought of being back at work. They feel that they should want to stay at home with their children (but don’t), they feel that they should feel guilty about leaving their child at home, but don’t. So they feel guilty about that instead.

And then there are the many women who really do feel guilty leaving their children in the care of others. This is valid and difficult and part of the work we have to do when we are working mothers – making sense and letting go of at least some of that guilt. But that is a whole topic for another day.

So how can we leave the ‘should’ at the door?

What do you want to do? Is it the right thing to do for you? Will it serve you well? Is it a productive use of your time? Does it bring something positive to your life?

Ask yourself these questions and if the answer is yes, then do it. Make your choices and own your choices.

And while you’re dropping the ‘should’, have a look at the ‘should haves’. ‘I should have’ is one of the most useless phrases in the English language. You didn’t. The past is gone. You can look at the past, learn the lesson and do differently next time. ‘I should have’ or ‘it’s a pity’ bring such a negative weight, a regret that really serves no purpose – unless you learn the lesson and move on.

Next time you feel that you should do something, ask yourself why. Is it something you want to do? Then go ahead and do it. Or figure out what you need to do to make it happen. If it’s because it’s an expectation coming from others or an unrealistic expectation on yourself – then leave ‘should’ at the door and focus on what you want and need to do to make sure that you have your mojo intact!

Taking the time to stop, reflect, re-focus and re-energise will help you set yourself up to succeed. Contact us to find out more about our group and 1:1 coaching and mentoring programmes.

Helping you to find your mojo.

XXX Cleabird

P.S. If this blog resonates with you or think it would resonate for someone you know, please like, share, tweet or forward on whatever media you like. E-mail is still good! I’d love to hear from you.