9 Phrases That Will Sabotage Your Confidence

Confidence comes easily to some–but for most of us, it involves some degree of struggle at least once in a while.

When you’re not feeling confident, your mind goes in directions that will feed that uncertainty if left alone. These phrases are signs pointing toward those bad directions.

If any of these sound like something you can hear yourself saying, make a point of replacing it with something more assured. You’ll sound more confident right away–and in time, you’ll feel it as well.

1. “Why me?”

We’ve all said this, or at least felt it, occasionally. But it’s a damaging thought. Aside from how whiny it sounds, its underlying message is that you should be exempt from the same laws of the universe that apply to everyone else. When you’re feeling confidant, you have faith in your ability to overcome, and you can take a longer perspective and know this trouble won’t last forever. Try saying “I’ll get through this.”

2. “I can’t.”

Nothing sounds more fatalistic. One of the best steps you can take toward confidence is to ban the word can’t from your vocabulary completely. It says you’re not even willing to try.  Try saying, “I’ll give it my best”–or, if you’re really stuck, “I could use some help with this.”

3. “I suppose.”

Unless you want to be seen as halfhearted and timid, stay away from I suppose and its synonym I guess. Be straightforward with your response, even if you have to qualify it. Instead, say “I know”–or “I think or I believe or I am certain.”

4. “I won’t.”

When you say “I won’t,” you leave no room for growth, no room for learning, no room for doing better. It is filled with negativity. Instead, say “I will.”

5. “I never.”

Used to describe something in the past (“I never saw the memo”) it sounds defensive; used as a general statement (“I never stay late”) it sounds inflexible. Either way, there’ s not much room for confidence. Instead, say I don’t remember or I try not to.”

6. “I might.”

If some words undermine us with inflexibility, might does it by being too passive and noncommittal. Instead, use a phrase that demonstrates a thoughtful approach and an open mind: I’m considering or I’m deciding.

7. “I failed.”

Dwelling on failure–and especially on the negative aspects of failure–is the surest path to lost confidence. We know failure is the greatest teacher and a necessary component of success. Instead say “I tried or I have learned. ”

8. “I give up.”

Are there any words that sound more despairing? These words brand you as a quitter. Instead, say “I’ve done everything I know to do for now or I’ll try again.”

9. “Good enough.”

Settling. Mediocrity. The status quo. This shrug of a phrase communicates not only a lack of confidence but lowered standards and a willingness to cut corners. Instead, say Let’s make this great.”

The things you say to others help determine how you’re perceived, and the things you say to yourself help determine how you feel. Listen to yourself and make the adjustments you need to sound, and to be, wonderfully confident.

Lolly Daskal is one of the most sought-after executive leadership coaches in the world. Her extensive cross-cultural expertise spans 14 countries, six languages and hundreds of companies. As founder and CEO of Lead From Within, her proprietary leadership program is engineered to be a catalyst for leaders who want to enhance performance and make a meaningful difference in their companies, their lives, and the world.

Of Lolly’s many awards and accolades, Lolly was designated a Top-50 Leadership and Management Expert by Inc. magazine. Huffington Post honored Lolly with the title of The Most Inspiring Woman in the World. Her writing has appeared in HBR, Inc.com, Fast Company (Ask The Expert), Huffington Post, and Psychology Today, and others. Her newest book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness has become a national bestseller.

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