“If you don’t like what is being said, change the conversation.” Don Draper, Mad Men (Part I)

Do you have conversations in your head about what you should be doing?“I should call my mother-in-law,” “I should rotate my tires,” “I should clean my closet.”

How do you feel when you hear those “shoulds”?

Exhausted? Like you want to catch the first bus out of town? 

Take Don Draper’s advice:

 “If you don’t like what is being said,

change the conversation.” 

 

How?

Ask yourself where the “should” comes from. Have you consciously or unconsciously burdened yourself with someone else’s expectations or rules that aren’t your own? Pause for a moment, take a deep breath and think about whether this particular “should” is important to you. How does it align itself with your personal value system? You have a choice. Is it something you want to do? 

If so, substitute the word “want” for “should,” and see what happens. 

Say aloud: “I should take a walk.” How do you feel? Where’s your energy and enthusiasm level holding? 

Now say: “I want to take a walk.” How do you feel now? 

When you change the conversation from “I should” to “I want” you re-claim leadership of your own life. You have the power to decide what you do based on what is important to you and what you want to do-not on a “should” you picked up from someone else.

And, you are much more likely to do something you want to do than something you should do. 

I heard that question: you don’t “want” to do the laundry. You “have to” or “should” do the laundry. It’s not about making a choice, you say. And, my answer is: Yes, it is. You can choose to do the laundry and have clean clothes or you can choose not to, today or ever. There may be unwanted consequences to your decision: No clean socks! Either way you made a decision as the leader of your life. And, as a leader, you will manage the consequences of your decision. If you arrived at a desired result you will probably stick with your decision. If you arrived at an undesired result, you will most probably examine your initial decision, see what needs tweaking and make a new decision. 

The key is the conversation you are having with yourself which affects how you perceive yourself and how you feel about what you are doing.