Do You Should On Yourself?

Several years ago I was at an Elliot Masie conference and had the pleasure of hearing the hilarious Loretta Laroche speak.   She was the first person to introduce me to the concept of  shoulding on yourself.   When you think to yourself, ‘I should have done this’ or ‘I shouldn’t have done that,’ it’s called shoulding on yourself.  The pun was definitely intended. Nobody should ever should on themselves.

Since then I have heard so many people tell me during coaching sessions that they shouldn’t have to do something or their employees should know better.

  • I shouldn’t have to tell them what to do; they’re adults.
  • They should know how to do this by now.
  • I shouldn’t have to ask them to do their jobs.
  • I should have figured this out already.
  • I shouldn’t have to walk on egg shells.
  • I shouldn’t have done that.

If I had a dollar for every time I heard that….well you know the rest… would be reading a very different post from me – from somewhere in the Caribbean on the island I own!

So why do we should on ourselves and others?  Well, it has to do with expectation setting.  Often we have expectations for ourselves and the people around us.  When those expectations aren’t met, we start shoulding. And in some cases, what we are shoulding about is in the past; we can’t change it anyway.

So what can we do to stop shoulding on ourselves and others?

First, use the emotional intelligence skill of adaptability.  Being able to adjust to the current situation and let go of your past expectations will help you remain emotionally open to dealing with the situation as it stands today.  I’m not suggesting you lower your expectations; I am suggesting you be flexible in how you interpret what is happening now.

Speaking of now, there is tremendous power in right NOW.  We can’t change yesterday, yet we can learn from it.  We can’t change tomorrow, but we can plan for it.  We CAN change right now.  It’s all we can change.  So spending time shoulding about what was or wasn’t done or what will or won’t be is a waste of valuable NOW.

Lastly, what kind of emotion comes with ‘I should have’ or ‘I shouldn’t have’?  Does it make you feel good to should on yourself or someone else? It is empowering or the opposite?  Neuroscience research shows that emotions drive our behavior and performance, so if we want to perform well we need to feel good.  What will you do instead of shoulding on yourself to create positive emotions?

Thank you for reading.  Please remember it’s your choice to make it a great day!

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