- On September 8, 2015
Is it really possible that just 5 letters can open you up to more innovation in your life?
It can be as simple as changing the question from “What SHOULD I do?” to “What COULD I do?”
“SHOULD” leaves you with a limited set of options. “Should” directs you towards a narrow pathway of expectations, your own or others. My own executive coach often reminded me, “No SHOULD-ING on yourself, Jane.”
What COULD I do? Now there is possibility. I could do this…or this…or this…or even this. “Could” opens you to choices and empowerment.
SHOULD calls on the left hemisphere of the brain; the part that is more concerned applying logic, analysis, specifics, and structure to our experiences. All very useful when we need to take action; however limiting if we want to explore possibilities that don’t fit the mold.
COULD engages our right hemisphere, the place in our brain where we take in new things. Our right hemisphere allows us to see the big picture and give meaning and context to what we are experiencing. It is our locus of creativity.
Here’s a recent example from my work day–
- I SHOULD work on that proposal now.
- I COULD work on that proposal now… or I could call Joe and find out more about the client… or I could work on it after lunch when I know I won’t be distracted… or I could make the outline and then finish the other report.
I chose that the most effective way for me to get this proposal task done was to create the outline this morning, then call Joe and meet for lunch. I came back after lunch excited about the new information Joe provided on the client and was able to craft an even more relevant approach in the proposal.
I have found that by giving myself options–“COULDS”– my mind is stimulated to evaluate possibilities and create new scenarios.
What COULD you do differently by eliminating the SHOULD and adding more “COULD” to your life?
Photo Credits: One section of a Tree of Life mosaic along the rail trail in Morgantown WV, taken by JFM, 2015.