3 Phrases You MUST Eliminate to Reach Your Full Potential

The Subtle Words that Limit Your Growth and Hold You Back

The words you say determine your attitude (how you feel) and your altitude (how much you will achieve). Are your words inspiring you and equipping you? Or are they limiting and crippling you? The good news is the choice is yours.

3 Phrases You MUST Eliminate to Reach Your Full Potential

I read an interesting ancient proverb recently. It demonstrated clearly the power that our words have on our mindsets, our feelings, and our performance.

Blow on a spark and up it flares, spit on it and out it goes; both are the effects of your mouth.

Your words can light a fire or put it out.

They can lift you up or drag you down.

They can keep you going or bring you to a screeching halt.

I think that we all instinctively know this at a basic level. We know that we shouldn’t say cruel and limiting things to ourselves like:

  • “I am so fat.”
  • “I am just lazy.”
  • “I suck at business.”

Those are obviously negative and limiting statements. And while they may or may not represent a present truth, we know that saying them out loud has negative consequences on our psyche, our bodies, and our performance.

But what about the subtle phrases we say that hold us back?

Today, I share three such phrases that seem harmless but may be holding you back from reaching your full potential. These are three phrases you MUST eliminate.

1. “I’ll Try”

Yoda had it right:

You cannot TRY to do anything. There is only action or inaction.

You either take action and do it or you don’t.

By saying, “I’ll try,” you give yourself an out. You remain uncommitted and don’t give your best effort.

I remember watching a presentation by Tony Robbins during which a well-meaning lady said that she had tried to work on her relationship with her husband. Tony then asked her to try to pick up the chair behind her. She then picked up the chair.

“No,” Tony said. “You picked up the chair. I asked you to try to pick it up.”

This time she did nothing.

“Now you aren’t picking it up,” he told her. “I said to try to pick it up.”

Once again, she picked it up. And on and on they went until finally she understood the message.

You cannot try. You can do or not do. The choice is yours.

Eliminate the phrase, “I’ll try” from your vocabulary. Choose to intentionally take action on the things that matter.

2. “I Can’t Afford That”

This is one of the most limiting and self-defeating phrases that I hear from so many people.

“I can’t afford that” is not a statement of present truth, but rather a limiting belief. It’s not a statement based on your current financial status, as some think, but on your belief (or lack thereof) in your abilities, your market value, and your worth.

In his book, Rich Dad, Poor Dad, Robert Kiyosaki offers an alternative phrase to ask yourself in place of this limiting statement:

How can I afford this?

The first statement is a brick wall that puts an end to your hopes and dreams. The second is full of possibility and curiosity.

If you want to reach your full potential, start looking for ways to afford the things that will get you to the next level. Maybe it’s a training course, professional counseling, or membership in a club or mastermind group. Whatever it is, find a way to make the investment and stop limiting your growth by saying “I can’t afford this.”

3. “I have to ____”

I caught myself saying this the other day.

It was late at night and I told my wife, Tara, that I “have to write an email” for a client.

I didn’t have to do it though. I got to. I chose to.

While more than 200 million people on earth remain unemployed, I am not.

While the majority of the workforce in the world works for less than $5.00 per day, that email I wrote was worth thousands of dollars.

And I had the audacity to say that I had to do it?

You don’t have to go to work. You get to provide for your family!

You don’t have to pick up the kids from school. You get to be there for them!

You don’t have to go workout. You get to do something that more than 1 billion disabled people in the world would be thrilled to do.

Stop saying “I have to” and you’ll find more meaning and enjoyment in your daily tasks. You’ll do them with more energy and you’ll perform them better.

Place your focus on gratitude for your blessings, not on grief for the things you are missing.

Question: What phrase do you find holding you back the most? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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  • Great reminder Matt. The words we choose to speak to ourselves are often far too harsh and critical. it takes effort (and input from positive sources) to change that inner dialogue, but mastering that is the foundation for all success. Thanks for these great ideas!

    • Indeed Michael. The thing about these phrases is that they aren’t harsh or critical, but very subtle ways of limiting ourselves. Even more dangerous than the harsh words!

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