paesaggio fantasticoThe things we say, whether out loud or to ourselves, have a profound effect not only on how we feel, but also on what we do. 

When we tell ourselves “I can’t do it” or “They’ll never allow it,” we undermine our own power and motivation to make change in our lives. When we tell ourselves “I’ll find a way” or ask “What haven’t I tried yet?” we give ourselves a feeling of hope that can help us to sustain the persistent effort we need to make things happen.

So it’s important that we pay attention to what we say.

Ask yourself this: How often are my comments positive and empowering, and how often are they negative and self-defeating? If you can shift that balance, even a little, you can have a real impact on how you feel and what you do.

Here’s one way to start the shift. If you find yourself saying things that suggest that the quality of your life is out of your hands, see if you can find a way to turn them around. One simple way is to use one of my favorite words: “Yet.”

Harnessing the Power of “Yet”

Adding “yet” to the end of a sentence can turn it from an old complaint into a new challenge. It can remind us how much power we do have, help us set goals for the future, and open us up to finding new ways to achieve them. It’s one of the surest and simplest ways to strengthen our hope and persistence – two essential elements of a happy and successful life.

Here are some examples of the power of “yet.”

For Ourselves

I haven’t been able to lose a single pound . . . yet.

I can’t get promoted because I’m just not good at giving presentations . . . yet.

I have no idea how I’m going to afford to pay for college . . . yet.


For Our Kids

I just don’t understand Algebra . . . yet.

I don’t have any friends at my new school . . . yet.

I’m not having a good soccer season . . . yet.


In Our Relationships

I haven’t been on a single date since my divorce . . . yet.

I haven’t forgiven my sister for that old insult . . . yet.

My spouse doesn’t understand how much we need a weekend alone together . . . yet.

See the magic? Okay, time to add your own examples to the list. Think up a few ways you can use the power of “yet” to turn complaints into goals in your own life, and to help you generate the hope and persistence you need to achieve them.


Wallace-259 5x7Lynda Wallace is a highly sought-after career, life, and executive coach who meets with local clients in her sunny office in Montclair, NJ, and with clients from around the world by phone and video. She wrote the best-selling book A Short Course in Happiness, and teaches her evidence-based coaching methods to hundreds of coaches every year. Lynda spent twenty years as a senior executive at Johnson & Johnson, holds an MBA from the Wharton School, and is a Certified Positive Psychology Coach.

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