Two words ain’t much. But sometimes it’s just what you need to hear:
1. Next Time. When you (or someone else) messes up, don’t dwell on the mistake for more than a few minutes. Sure, it’s easy to exclaim, “You putz! What the hell were you thinking?” But a better approach would be to say, “Next time, don’t talk on your cell phone while driving.” “Next time” is solution oriented. Patient. Less angry. Less reactive. And most importantly, positive.
2. Until now. In the book University of Success, Og Mandino suggests using these two words to thwart self-limiting beliefs. Instead of thinking, “I suck at public speaking!” or “I’m a terrible writer,” say to yourself, “Until now, I’ve had limited success with public speaking,” or, “Until now, my writing has been sub-par.” The key is to add a resolution phrase afterward. For example, “Until now, my writing has been sub-par. But I’m confident that practicing every day will improve my skills.” Start thinking in the right direction. Forget about how bad you used to be. Imagine how great you’re going to become.
3. What’s next? The first boss I had out of college was the owner of a discount furniture store. She’d write, “What’s next?” on note cards all around the store. See, at Pam’s store, there was always something to do. Always something to improve. Yes sir, no employee would ever go bored while SHE was around! And it worked, too. “What’s next?” kept us on task. Always thinking about the future. The next sale. The next customer. What’s next for you?
4. Not yet. These two words are the perfect substitute for the word NO. Less of a rejection. Less negative. And perfect to use in response to someone who doubts your efforts. What’s more, “Not yet” implies improvement. For example, let’s say you tell a friend you plan to write a book. She says, “Really! Cool. But do you actually know anything about writing books?” And then with a big smile on your face, you reply, “Not yet.” Your friend smiles back. Because she just KNOWS that book will get done.
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What are your best two words of advice?
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Post ’em here!
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Author/Speaker/That Guy with the Nametag