A few years back I was in a completely different place to where I am now. I was in an abusive marriage and I was also stressed to the hilt in a job I didn’t enjoy. So I went to see a therapist.
I had also just walked out of a job I couldn’t handle any more due to the stresses and demands, in addition to an awful marriage. It was 6pm on a Friday night and I had a decision to make. A big one that was to change the direction of my life forever.
As I was about to leave my first session the therapist turned and said to me, “There is one word you’ve said about 20 times today”. I couldn’t think for the life of me what it was, I was racking my brains. He then continued, “You keep saying the word ‘try’.”
He elaborated further - “If you keep saying the word 'try' to yourself what does it mean?”. I stared at him blankly, still puzzled. He went on to explain. “If we decided to meet for a coffee tomorrow night at 6pm, then if I said to you, Oh I will try and get there if I can, then what does that say to you? …as opposed to, I will be there for 6pm tomorrow night, I’ll look forward to seeing you then.”
It began to resonant with me what point this wonderful man was attempting to explain. “If we say we are going to try and do something, what does it really mean? It really means we are going to be late at best, or something else more important might come up. Whereas if we say we are going to do something, without the word ‘try’ in there, it is most likely we will follow through with this decision”.
It was as if a lightbulb had gone off in my head.
This point is two-fold. If we are telling ourselves something such as I will ‘try’, then this potentially gives ourselves an excuse to get out of whatever we need to (to keep ourselves safe and to not push us out of our comfort zones). What it also does is allow us to recognise what underlying subconscious patterns are running below the surface that perhaps aren’t serving us any more.
“So what are your plans now?” the therapist enquired as I was about to leave. I had just walked out of a stressful job I no longer wanted to be in, and I had big decisions to make about this marriage I was still stuck in. So I replied, “Well, I’m going to relax over the weekend and not do too much (I was physically, psychologically and emotionally exhausted) and then on Monday i’m going to tr……” as the word try automatically nearly fell out of my mouth! The therapist looked at me. As he did I quickly corrected myself. I then said “On Monday I’m going to….” And that was it there and then. I had agreed to make this decision to make the appropriate choice for me.
I firmly believe if we had not had this conversation, I would have stayed on the old path. It also made me realise I had been saying for many years, I will try and do this and try and do that, thus giving myself a cop-out or an excuse to not do something.
So notice what you say to yourself. Are you making excuses? Are you self-sabotaging? Do you use words that get out of making decisions? Are you stopping yourself from achieving the full success and potential you deserve?
As a direct result of this conversation, I created an opportunity for myself. Two days later I booked a flight. By the end of that week I had started my 3 week exploration around Vietnam as a solo traveller. It was one of the most liberating experiences of my life. I walked back into my life and didn’t look back, learning tools and techniques that would shape and change my life forever.