Chuck Blakeman

Author, speaker, and founder of the Crankset Group.

The 7 Deadly Words You Can Never Afford to Use


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This article was published on September 01, 2015. Have thoughts on the article? Share them below.

Words express our deepest beliefs. If you want a successful business or a great life, these words won’t help you get there.

1. Try (the uncommitted person’s word)
“I’m going to try to…”

Yoda: “Try not. Do, or do not. There is no try.” Intentionality is a huge key to getting where you want to go. When we use “try,” our escape route is clearly identified, and we have no intention of seeing things through, especially in the rough times.

Successful people don’t try, they do.

You get what you intend, not what you hope for.

2. But (the victim’s word)
“This could have worked, but outside forces kept me from…,” or, “But I don’t know how…”

“But” is the victimology word. It keeps us from figuring things out and pushing through to victory. People moving forward don’t use “but.” They make lemonade with every lemon they’re given.

3. Can’t (the unbeliever’s word)
“I tried, but I can’t…”

Vision is critical. If you don’t have clarity about where you’re going, you won’t believe you can get there. Successful people are too busy getting where they’re going to give in to “can’t.” They’ll figure it out.

Henry Ford: “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right.”

4. Settle [for] (the unmotivated person’s word)
“Good enough.”

Successful people don’t settle. What was the passion that got you started? Why would you allow circumstances to change your commitment to that passion?

Circumstances don’t make us who we are. How we respond does.

5. Nobody (the heroic activist’s word)
The heroic activist is infected with a bad case of the nobodys—“Nobody is as good, committed, invested, knowledgeable, experienced, etc., as I am.” The heroic activist is forever on the treadmill, solving and deciding instead of training, and doing everything themselves. Successful people find other people who are better than they are, put them in charge, and go on vacation (I leave for a month in Italy tomorrow). You’re not as important as you think you are.

6. Later (the thinker’s word)
Bad plans carried out violently many times yield good results. Do something. The No. 1 indicator of success is not how great your plan is or how smart you are or how much research you’ve done. The No. 1 indicator of success is speed of execution. Later never comes.

Here’s how to stop waiting until later. A decision isn’t a decision until you’ve done all three:

• Make a decision • Put a date on it • Go public

Successful people get an idea, move on it, and figure it out as they go. And they understand the value of going public with their intentions.

7. Alone (the rugged individualist’s word)
The rugged individualist is the first cousin of the heroic activist. The H.A. believes nobody could ever do what he or she does. The R. I. believes he or she must do it alone; living in business community is a sign of weakness.

Everything we do in life, from taking a spouse to joining a golf club, has an element of “community” in it, except for business ownership. Good luck with that one, you’re on your own.

There isn’t another place in society, other than business ownership, where we have fully institutionalized the nonsense myth of the rugged individualist. Everybody needs a safe place to say three magic words: “I don’t know.” I’m on my tenth business and I’m still making it up as I go along, and anyone who tells you different is selling business plans or a book you shouldn’t buy. John Wayne is dead. We should have buried the rugged individualist with him.

Successful people have Outside Eyes on their business and their life all the time.

Purge These Words
Are you using any of these seven deadly words: “try,” “but,” “can’t,” “settle,” “nobody” “later,” or “alone”? Remove them from your vocabulary, and ask your friends to catch you when you slip. It will have a big impact on whether you get where you want to go in life.

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