Words are powerful. They carry thought, emotion, perspective, and beliefs. They are used to motivate, to tear down, to educate and to connect with others. Words are a major tool for therapists. We mirror, reframe and challenge the words of our clients. I think we can all agree that words matter.
Words don't just matter in terms of communication with others, but also with the self. So as a business coach for therapists, I try to be aware of what languaging is limiting my clients from another perspective or influencing behaviors that hold them back from their vision.
I thought it would be fun to give you three words that I commonly hear from therapists (and have used myself) that hold a major impact on their business success.
"Just" - This word is a weak link in whatever you are talking about, but especially when it is referring to YOU. In fact, many grammar experts and speaking coaches will say to cut it out completely. Think about when you hear someone say, "I'm just an intern." - "Just" here diminishes being an intern, as if being an intern isn't awesome?! "I am an intern." Factual and, in my opinion, more confident. When you use the word "just" you are saying that you are not completely worthy of what you are, you don't want to offend others, or you are uncomfortable with who you are. "Just" holds you back because in business it takes an amount of confidence, an awareness that you can't please everyone, and knowledge that your dreams matter and are important.
"Nobody" - When marketing your practice, remember that you can't fit your entire zip code into your office. You aren't looking to serve everyone, and many of you are only able to serve 10 to 20 people in your entire city, county, state, and country. That's it. When you start to say "Nobody can afford that, will pay that, wants this or that," you have set up a core belief of limitation in your business. If "nobody" exists for your business, how are you going to find anybody at all? Why even bother having the business? The start of a business is founded upon researching your market, understanding the need and identifying the mere existence of the people you seek to serve. I wouldn't set up my hamburger joint in the middle of the Mojave Desert or on a commune full of vegetarians (unless I only sold black bean burgers); I would set up my restaurant where there is a need.
"Can't" - This word is a bit controversial. There are literal facts in which "can't" is very real. Fact - I can't eat certain foods because I am allergic to them. That reality isn't going to change. However, many times I hear the word "can't" attached to choices and perceived limitations which are in actually self-imposed limitations. "Mamma, I can't do it." - is a common daily phrase in my home. When I know my daughter can do things, but she just hasn't realized she is capable, I am there to show her how. This is when coaching is so helpful, when we need to learn to decipher for ourselves what is a choice or what is out of our control. For example, "I can't afford to invest in my business." Is it that you "can't" or that you choose not to? "Can't" shuts the door to any possibility. Even if you didn't have two pennies to rub together, what if you said: "I will make a way to invest in my business." Just by this you are opening up your mind to look at options. Be honest with yourself. What is really going on with you? What is fact and what is fiction?
When you speak, when you write, when you think, hold an awareness of these words and their impact. Start eliminating the language that holds you back and you will find yourself being more creative, confident, solution-focused, and driven. Are there other words that you or others use that hold them back? Share below!
Love your Life and Your Practice,