The power of should


Have you ever heard the phrase, “stop shoulding all over yourself?” I remember the first time I heard it. I was a teenager and I wanted to fit in. This was followed by a barrage of shoulds.

  • I should try out to be a cheerleader.
  • I should enroll in athletics.
  • I should be on the yearbook staff.
  • I should have a boyfriend.

The word “should” has historically been knocked down in my life. I was told that I was beating up on myself, that I was expecting too much, and that I SHOULDN’T say SHOULD.

What I have found is that should, framed with a balanced mindset could be easily (and powerfully) replaced with the word LONGING.

  • I long to be a cheerleader – which meant  to me, to be seen, heard, and matter.
  • I long to be in athletics – which meant to me, to be healthy, fit, and accepted.
  • I long to be on the yearbook staff – which meant to me, to make a permanent difference in as many lives as I could touch.
  • I long to have a boyfriend – which meant to me, to have companionship, love, adoration.

Today, as an adult and coach, I recognize that every should I give myself has a deeper longing behind it. The POWER of that should is this.

When I put action behind it, I take steps to fulfill my longing. 

I choose to be part of charitable projects: Which means I contract with myself to: bring my full creative self to the project and any project where I can make a difference, to see this project to the end, and to honor the work I do and the work of others as we create together.

Result: I fulfill my longing to make a difference and more projects begin to manifest to expand the ripple effect of my presence in the world.

All that from a teenage longing! The word SHOULD is so powerful! And don’t forget to look within as well as outside, because both the inner and outer world have the potential to fulfill a longing. Creating inside first makes that outer expression so much more powerful and lasting!

Daily Exercise: What have you been shoulding yourself about? Do the exercise below.

  1. List your shoulds.
  2. Unroot your longing.
  3. Pinpoint one focus area which, when worked, will meet that longing.
  4. Take action and witness the results in your life.

Did you complete this exercise? Comment below on what works for you.