Successful folk didn’t get where they are today by uttering mindless, de-motivating, or plainly irritating phrases. If you want to get on in your career, have a better relationship with your work colleagues, and bring out the best in your family and friends, make sure you don’t fall into the trap of using any of these phrases.

1. That’s A Great Idea… But

For a millisecond, the deliverer of the “great idea” thinks you really like what they are saying. Then you ruin things with the ‘but’ word.

For employees, the boss who uses the “but” word frequently is one to be wary of; one who can cut down well thought-out plans and proposals with the single B word. For partners and friends of the but-word-lover, they soon learn to not voice their ideas out loud as they know they will be presented with all manner of reasons why the idea isn’t great at all.

Now fair enough, if there is a fatal flaw in the idea it shouldn’t be progressed, but even so the B word doesn’t need to be used. There are much better phrases to use. Consider:

“That’s a great idea… let’s think how we can build on that.”

“That’s a great idea… why not discuss it with the team so they can add their thoughts.”

“That’s a great idea….I wonder if we can add in A and B and really nail it.”

By removing any negativity from your comment, you will automatically:

– make the person who came up with the great idea feel happy, valued and respected

– keep that person motivated

– not undermine their confidence in their own ability

– not stifle their creativity nor prevent them voicing new ideas

It’s always best to embrace all new ideas with an open mind. Remember:

“A Person With A New Idea Is A Crank Until The Idea Succeeds” [Mark Twain]

2. I Never Get It Right

Nothing worse than a pessimist at home or at work – and if you frequently moan, “I never get it right”, that’s exactly what you are. So what if your project didn’t get accepted? So what if boss found some mistakes in your work? So what if you put your foot in it when talking to a neighbour without thinking first? All of these mistakes should be considered as learning points, not as an excuse to fall back on the “I never get it right” comment.

When people trot out this negative saying again and again, without trying to learn from their mistakes, their friends and colleagues will start to lose patience.

If you are guilty of saying this, you need to bin the phrase completely. Look at what has gone well for you in the past and build on that.

Examine mistakes you have made with the sole purpose of not making them again. And if once again you make the odd cock-up, remind yourself:

“A Person Who Never Made A Mistake Never Tried Anything New.” [Albert Einstein]

3. I Don’t Need Any Help

People who utter this phrase normally do it for one of these reasons:

– they want to have full control and don’t think anyone else is good enough to help

– they want to get all the glory for themselves without having to share it with anyone else

– they think asking for help will show them to be weak

And that’s a shame. Because asking for help

– lessens your workload (be it in the house or at work)

– gets the job done faster

– fosters a team spirit

If you have a tendency to reject offers of help, think again. Co-workers may think you are standoffish and won’t offer to help you in the future; family might feel rejected if you don’t want their help; and your boss will be less than happy if you miss a deadline because you insisted on working alone.

“Don’t Be Shy Asking For Help. It Doesn’t Mean You’re Weak; It Only Means You’re Wise.”

4. It Was Nothing

When you’ve worked yourself to the max to finalise an important report to a tight deadline, why on earth would you say “hey, it was nothing”, when your boss gives you praise?

Because it was SOMETHING – something you toiled over, something you put your all into. Don’t minimise the effort involved by using the self-deprecating “it was nothing” phrase. You may think that you are coming across as modest, but in fact you are doing yourself no favours at all.

Your boss won’t appreciate the effort involved and will think you completed the work in just about no time at all – and will expect you to complete similar projects in the future to even tighter deadlines.

Remember that:

“Sometimes Our Self-deprecating Comments Become Our Greatest Obstacle.” [Charlene Johnson]

Don’t portray yourself as the person who needs to do very little to get results, or people will start to take you for granted. They may just pile more work on your desk and expect it to be completed yesterday. Or your laid-back “it was nothing” approach may simply come across as a person who isn’t particularly motivated by their job.

5. I Give Up

Success and tenacity go hand in hand. If you believe the world’s most successful entrepreneurs got their business model right first time, then think again.

Richard Branson has launched over 400 companies under the Virgin banner – but a number of these failed and no longer trade – think Virgin Drinks, Virgin Cosmetics, Virgin Clothing, Virginware, Virgin Brides, Virgin Pulse, Virgin Digital.

Sir James Dyson took 15 years and 5126 failed protypes before he created the bagless Dyson vacuum cleaner

Arianna Huffington, founder of The Huffington Post wrote a book which was rejected by 36 publishing houses.

Steven Speilberg, famous film director of mega busters was rejected from film school three times before getting a break.

There are many, many more examples – but each underlines the fact that successful people simply never say “I give up.”

“Our Greatest Weakness Lies In Giving Up. The Most Certain Way To Succeed Is Always To Try Just One More Time.” [Thomas A. Edison]

If you want more success for yourself, reconsider what you are saying and why you are saying it. And eliminate the 5 phrases above from your vocabulary once and for all!

About the Author

Michelle has worked as a traditional and digital marketer for the past 8 years. Prior to that she had a varied career, firstly qualifying as a pharmacist, completing a PhD and working in the field of Quality Assurance. Then she upped sticks and moved to sunny Portugal, and worked in an operational role as Leisure Area Manager for a large resort company.

She was drawn to marketing and has never looked back. Her fine eye for detail, scientific background, experience of managing teams and dealing directly with customers has given her an unusual all-round view of the workplace. She shares her opinions on success in life and the workplace in her blogs for Sophisticated Savers. We hope you enjoy them!