Have you ever noticed  those small, sneaky words that we put in our spoken and written dialogue, that diminish what we are saying and discredit us as the smart, driven women we are. These words often seem like a harmless attempt to soften the impact, to help us come across as more gentle and approachable. In fact, we are so good at this habit we often don’t realise we even say them.

I am listening to the audio book version of Tara Mohr’s Playing Big at the moment – and HIGHLY recommend all women, everywhere should read it.

It is an amazing book and in it Tara talks about the Inner Critic, how to find your Inner Mentor and one of my favourite chapters is all about YOUR CALLING and doing the work you are meant to do in the world. But one chapter is dedicated to looking at WORDS and particularly the ones us ladies use to diminish ourselves on a regular basis.

Why do we add words that UNDERMINE what we are really saying?

Because we are holding back.

As women we are often juggling an internal strugge of stepping up and being assertive while still maintaining our approachable, nurturing feminine nature.

Tara shares ten common words or phrases that we use, often without even noticing it, to diminish and undermine our stance on something. I know I’m guilty of so many of them and when someone shines a light on them it becomes so obvious how much STRONGER and more confident we would sound if we took these tiny nasties OUT of our language.

My most common nasties are certainly the HEDGES Tara talks about, these include the ‘Just-s’ ‘Actually-s’ and ‘Kind of-s’. Let’s look at a few examples.

“I just wanted to ask you. . .” “I am just concerned that . . .” 

“I actually have a question. . .”  “I actually disagree . . .”

“I kind of think if we should try a new direction.”

Challenge

I have heard of this behaviour before but I’m so grateful Tara has brought it back to my attention and I am going to actively try and catch myself in the act and CHANGE the patterns around this dimishing langaue in my own spoken and written communication. I’d love to challenge you to do the same!

How much more powerful are the above phrases made, simply by removing the hedges?

“I wanted to ask you. . .”  “I have a question. . .”

“I think if we should try a new direction.”

Pay attention to your own language over the next few days, and that of the women around you and see how many hedges you notice.

Feel free to hit REPLY and let me know which phrases or words you commonly use that actually take away from the strength of what you are saying so we can help each other break the habit!

Because we are smart, brave and driven women who have value to share with the world, so let’s stop holding ourselves back in this way.