The Curious Coach Podcast

Episode 091:
Mini: Mind your language!

This week’s episode is about being aware of your language and whether you’re using rigid or flexible language!   Listen or watch to find out more…

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Video Version

Audio Version


Hi there and welcome to this week’s mini episode of The Curious Coach Podcast.  My challenge for you this week is really simple – it’s about minding your language!  And no, I’m not asking you to mind you P’s and Q’s although being polite and having good manners never hurts!


Rather, I’m asking you to watch out for those times when you say to yourself or others, sentences that begin with “I should”, “I must”, “I need to”, “I have to” and so on.  These are phrases that are fairly common in our everyday communication and we probably use them without really being aware of what the implication is.


For example, I might tell myself on a Sunday afternoon that I have to record a podcast episode because I must have it ready for being published first thing Monday morning on apple podcasts and Monday lunchtime for the LinkedIn video version.   By saying things like ‘I have to’ and ‘I must have’, I’m unconsciously putting myself under pressure and it’s a form of rigid thinking.   As a result, I may start to feel a little anxious because maybe I haven’t got a topic ready, and that I’m not in the humour to concentrate or that there’s lots of other things going on today and so on.  And then I might start to get a little resentful and angry as a result for “having” to do this.   


In reality, if I stop to challenge that I have to or that I must do something, then it becomes a little more interesting, more flexible rather than rigid.  No one is forcing me to release an episode on Monday.  For the podcast, I’m not accountable to advertising sponsors or a boss with a release schedule that I have to meet.  In fact, it’s just me and in reality, it’s my choice whether to record and release an episode or not.  It really comes down to a question of underlying beliefs and consequences.   If I don’t record an episode today and I don’t release it on Monday, the world won’t end.  However, I’m choosing to do so because I want to maintain a reputation for being reliable and dependable and to deliver something that people will hopefully find valuable.  So rather than saying I have to record the episode… I could say, “I’m choosing to record the episode” or maybe even “I want to record the episode”.  I can actually feel a difference within myself when I rephrase and take ownership of my choice.   This was a fairly example. However, sometimes this form of rigid thinking can have fairly serious consequences.   What if you regularly said something like “I have to work late…”. How might that be affecting your behaviour, your life, your sense of wellbeing and so on.  And what might you be believing in that moment?  What choices might you be ignoring?


So that’s my challenge for you this week, notice when you’re using rigid language such as “I have to”, “I must”, and so on,  and see can you catch yourself in the moment and rephrase it to something else.  And be aware of how you feel when you do or what beliefs you might surface.  And maybe, just maybe, when you realise you have a choice, you might find that you make a different choice, providing of course, you’re ok with the consequences!


That’s it for this week.  Let me know how you got on and until next time – stay curious.