Stephen Akintayo — If you want to become more successful as an entrepreneur or in your career, you can start by making a habit of talking and thinking more like the people you know or read about who are already successful.
Here are some phrases you’ll never hear a successful person say:
1. “We can’t do that.”One thing that makes people and companies successful is the ability to make solving their customers’ problems and demands their main priority. If a need arises repeatedly, the most successful people learn how to solve it as quickly as they can.
2. “I don’t know how.”Instead of automatically shutting down solution-finding, successful people learn what they can in order to succeed in a project or in their career. For example, you would never see a truly successful international business consultant who travels to Italy multiple times per year refusing to learn Italian.
3. “I don’t know what that is.”Pleading ignorance doesn’t make the problem go away. It just makes the asker find someone who is able to work with them to solve the problem. While’s it’s always good to be honest with those you interact with, finishing this phrase with “but I’ll find out” is a surefire way to become more successful.
4. “I did everything on my own.”The best people know to surround themselves with others who are smart, savvy and as dedicated as they are. What makes this work is always giving credit where it’s due, as due credit to you will always come back in hand. Recognize those that have helped you or made an impact and you’ll continue to earn success and recognition yourself.
5. “That’s too early.”You would never hear Benjamin Franklin or someone such as Steve Jobs say, “that is too early for me to be there.” If there is a networking meeting, project launch or interview opportunity at the very beginning of the day, the most successful people do what it takes to be there. Part of being successful is being at the right place at the right time, no matter if you’re a morning bird or night owl.
6. “That’s too late.”Along the same lines, if you’re asked to a 9 p.m. dinner by a potential business partner, and you can make it, definitely go. You may be tired the next day, but the connections you will make during a small dinner or after-hours meeting can make all the difference when it comes to your career or next project.
7. “It’s too bad we couldn’t work together.”Truly hitting it off with someone can be a rare occurrence, but if you truly connect with someone and want to work with them, find a way to make it work. Finding people that you really enjoy communicating with don’t come along too often, so whether it’s a case study or a new business, successful people know that working with those who truly align with your personality and interests are the path to true success.
8. “Let’s catch up sometime.”Many times, this phrase is said as filler, without any true follow up. Successful people know that if they really want to catch up with someone, they follow up to make it happen. This also builds on the idea that the most successful people have worked hard to build genuine connections and relationships within their network, without any hidden agenda. Nurturing your network means being thoughtful of others, while keeping your relationships with them on top of your mind.
9. “I’m sorry, I’m too busy.”If an opportunity comes their way, successful people do what it takes to make it happen. Sure, this might mean longer hours occasionally, but if you want something to work, that is what it takes. After all, according to Lao-Tzu: “Time is a created thing. To say ‘I don’t have time,’ is like saying, ‘I don’t want to.’”
10. “That was all my idea.”Again, as mentioned in number four, the most successful people spread the wealth when it comes to doling out praise from a successful project. No idea is truly one’s own — it’s a sum of their experiences from interacting and building off of collaborative ideas with a team. Doling out praise and encouragement is a crucial part of building a successful company and culture.
11. “I never read books.”Tom Corley of Rich Habits found that rich people read (and listen to) books at a much higher rate than poor people: “63 percent of wealthy parents make their children read two or more non-fiction books a month vs. 3 percent of poor.” Also, “63 percent of wealthy listen to audio books during commute to work vs. 5 percent of poor people.” Reading non-fiction (as well as fiction) can help reduce stress, enhance creativity and boost your memory.
12. “I’m not good enough.”Part of being successful is having a high sense of self-worth. Being yourself is one trait that promises success in business and your personal life. Follow your true interests. What you would do in your life if you didn’t need money?
13. “It’s OK.” (over and over)Successful people know when to walk away and stop taking excuses from others. If there is a bottleneck and something (or someone) is preventing you from completing a project on time, build up your business, or move you forward in your goals, then it’s time to set boundaries and decide to limit your involvement.
14. “If our competitors don’t have it, then we don’t need it.”Copying competitors is one of the many possible deaths for most companies. True innovation comes from the flip side: figuring out what competitors aren’t doing and fill that niche to answer a need in the industry.
15. “Time off is for suckers.”True success should be seen as a well-rounded approach, one with vacations, weekends with friends and family and hours of downtime on the weekdays. While workload varies for everyone at times, taking vacation can make you better at your job.
Sometimes to get to where you want to be, the best and easiest thing to do is to simply follow the examples that others set for you.
What phrases are you going to eliminate from your day-to-day conversations and thinking?