Deep in 'Should'? 3 Easy Ways to Crush Stress and Gain Focus


“Stop should-ing on yourself,” he chuckled.

I heard the ‘should’ come out of my mouth. I did not like the sound of it. I cringed, feeling a cold thud deep in my gut as it landed.

I’m like the ‘should-police': hyper-vigilant about the word 'should'. I'm resolute in getting us to stop should’ng on others or ourselves. It’s so disempowering.

Yet, there I was. Should’ng all over myself.

Harold took great delight in telling me to stop. “I know, right?!” I smirked. “I ‘shouldn’t’ should on myself.”

“I got that from you – STOP SHOULD’NG,” he added.

We both laughed.


When You're Knee-Deep in 'Should'

It’s hard sometimes. The word should in English sounds a lot like sh*t. It’s about as kind, helpful or useful. But sometimes, it just insinuates its way in. Especially when we feel pulled in many directions or burdened with responsibility.

No matter the reason, it’s a lousy way to treat ourselves. Or others.

“Here’s what I do instead,” he offered. “I call it my ‘Knee Deep in Should’ list. You know how sometimes you’re just ‘stuck' in it and it all keeps swimming around in your head? Well, I make a list. Then, I set priority. Next, I take action.”



With his permission, I've summarized and adapted Harold's method. The result is the repeatable practice below. Deep in ‘should’? 3 easy ways to crush stress and gain focus.


3 Steps to Freedom

It's about freedom. Freeing yourself and others to do what matters. Because you can. Because it’s right for you. Because you own it. Your choice. Your decision. Your commitment.

Inspired accountability.

To prepare, you’ll first make a list (or draw a mind map) of all the ‘shoulds.' All of them! Hold nothing back. Every ‘should’ you or anyone else is telling you that you ‘should’ do. The act of writing/drawing it out is already cathartic; a great release. 

Now, here comes the fun part. Deep in 'should'? 3 easy ways to crush stress and gain focus:

1.    For each ‘should’, ask yourself this question. "Is this mine?" In other words, is it right for you? Are you willing to own it? If not, drop it, give it back, and let it go. Cross it off the list!

2.    If it is yours, decide exactly what you’re going to do about it. Describe the action you will take.

3.    Review your action list. Pick one priority. Yes, ONE. That’s why it’s a priority. Take action on that, until it’s done. Or, if it’s a habit, until it’s ingrained. Then, revisit the list and choose what’s next.

“If everything is a priority, nothing is.” ~Peter Drucker 

Click to Tweet: Regain the freedom of deciding what YOU want vs. 'should' do. @JaniceKobelsky this image. 


More of What Matters. Less of What Doesn't.

That’s it. Dead simple. Empowering. Liberating.

Deep in 'should'? 3 easy ways to crush stress and gain focus. Eventually, your ‘should-list’ will shrink. Ideally, you won’t have one at all. Instead of ‘should’, you’ll choose. You’ll either make room for it in your life. Or, you won’t.

At that point, you’ve stopped should’ng.

You'll do what you do because it matters. You clear the way to live and lead ‘on purpose.’ Are you?


A version of this post was previously published by Janice Kobelsky on LinkedIn

If you liked this, do share, will you? But -- not because you 'should'!

 Are you living and leading 'on purpose'? There's nothing quite like that feeling of knowing that everything you do -- and choose not to do -- is in sync with what matters most to you. It's about living the difference you want to make. Most of us have a good sense of what that is, but we're neither as clear nor as focused as we'd like to be. As a result, it's all too easy to get embroiled in others' agendas and take on too much 'should'. 

Maybe it's time to challenge yourself and your thinking. Explore the kind of powerful questions that can help you live and lead 'on purpose'. If that appeals to you, you'll love this online program. Learn more, here. Brief intro video.



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