9 phrases to avoid
Tere Zacher

We set goals. We have great ideas. We want to build things (literally and figuratively). All of that is fantastic until we have to set it into action. Most of the time what we are set to do doesn't work out because of what we are telling to ourselves all the time -and most of the time we don't even realize it!

​Every time  I speak in public I always ask people to think of the person they care the most about (your mom, daughter, son, dad, spouse, best friend...) and then I ask them if they would ever tell them really negative things ("You idiot!" "Yeah, like you could do that, there is no way" "You look terrible today, if you would only lose x pounds you would be lovable"...). Most of the time the answer is No. We wouldn't dare to shatter our beloved ones dreams or to tell our kids they are ugly right? but yet when it comes to what we tell ourselves we use those words and we don't even realize it... but what we think we become so it's time for us to start watching those thoughts and those phrases we use when thinking about what we want to achieve. Here are 9 phrases we need to avoid in order to have a better state of mind and begin to be more successful in achieving our dreams.

1. “That’s impossible.”

Unless you’re talking about elephants literally flying (and hey, who knows what science will come up with, nonbelievers!), there is nothing that is impossible (the word itself says it: I'm possible). You actually can do anything you put your mind to, with enough determination and effort. Sometimes, it just takes a new perspective. And letting go of control.

But claiming that something is impossible when it totally is possible is just limiting your own potential for success.

2. “I can do it all by myself.”

You can do anything you set your mind to, but sometimes, you need the help of others. Teamwork is essential with certain tasks; or, sometimes, you just need the support of others to help you achieve. Only unsuccessful people think they can do everything all by themselves 100% of the time.

This was a hard lesson I had to learn. I wanted to prove everybody that I could do anything and didn't need any help. I ended up isolating myself and not getting where I wanted to be. Now I know that even though running or swimming are individual sports when you race, youu need help from others to be successful (a coach, teammates that help you train, the doctor, nutritionist, massage therapist that helps you recover...). We are all interconnected and the sooner we realize it, the better.

3. “That won’t happen for me.”

Say you want to apply for your dream job. But 100 other people around the country have applied, and only one person can get in. In a situation like this, this phrase is deadly.

Only unsuccessful people say this, because it’s a phrase that rationalizes letting go of your dreams and goals. One person will get that job. Why not you?

I always tell my athletes this same thing. One person has to win. Or to qualify for Olympic Games. To break a record. Why not you?

4. “X, Y, and Z are so ahead of me in life.”

This is a phrase that floats through the head of many, myself included. It’s hard to see people around you who seem like they’ve just got everything together when you’re not even sure which way is up. Here is where we have to remember everybody has a personal journey. I recently bought a shirt that has an image of a daisy, a rose, and a carnation and it says "all flowers, each one of them beautiful in their own way". A rose will never be a carnation and a carnation will never be a daisy. And even when you plant two roses at the same time each of them will bloom at their own right time in their own unique way. It's the same with people.

Successful people know that when other people seem to have it all or everything together it doesn’t have to do with their self worth. Rather, it’s about what stage they’re in during life. Successful people just use those ahead of them as inspiration keep on going—not as a point of comparison.

5. “I like my own idea.”

You might have come up with a great idea, but someone else could have an idea to add to it that makes it unbelievably excellent. On the other hand, you might have a good idea, but an aspect of your idea doesn’t work and is holding it back. It’s important to be open-minded.

6. “I don’t need your input.”

Yes, you do. You always need input. Only unsuccessful people claim that they don’t need advice and constructive criticism. Why? Because successful people know that they aren’t perfect, and they thus value the opinions of others who may see a flaw or a hole in their plan.

I have a swimmer (he is a brand new swimmer) who was not kicking. I told him to use his legs and explained why we should kick while we swim. He said he thinks he swims faster when he doesn't kick and I answered "Have you ever seen a boat going better without engine or an Olympic swimmer not kicking? you are faster with your legs kicking than without them". His answer is now a classic in our team: "Are you sure? I think I know what I am doing and I will keep it that way". If you know me you can imagine the rest of the conversation with this poor kid :) And yes, everybody needs input. Maybe not all the things people tell you are helpful or right, but, if it's coming from someone with experience and that wants to see you succeed, perhaps you should listen :)

7. “I already know that.”

So someone tries to help you out with a piece of knowledge you already know (think of my swimmer's answer)or have already noticed. What good will snapping back this quip really do? This is a statement that simply hurts the morale of the team. It’s never been constructive.

Successful people know that, and they avoid it at all costs. Something they might say instead is simply, “Yes, thank you.” You don’t want to frighten anybody into not giving you the constructive criticism you need.

8. “I can’t.”

This is a phrase that should be negated from your vocabulary when you’re trying to achieve a goal. It’s the same as “that’s impossible”— except you’re using it referring directly to yourself. If you don’t think you can, why should anyone else?

Simply saying “I can’t” is dismissing a whole realm of possibilities. If it’s something truly important that will help you to be successful, yes, you can. And, if it seems really hard you can always say "I am not there YET.”. I can't doesn't exist. You can say "I don't want to" which is real. As I mentioned earlier, if it's really important for you, you will find a way to make it happen.

9. “It’s not fair.”

Only unsuccessful people use this phrase. Not only is this phrase harping on the negative, but it’s attributing any failures or botched attempts to outside sources—to fate.

It’s not about what’s fair and what’s not. And successful people know that sometimes, things don’t work out the way you think they will. But they move on and keep trying, while the unsuccessful plop down and pout.

Everybody fails. But you’re only truly failing if you don’t get back up and try again.

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