How to Use Empowering Language -

How to Use Empowering Language

I have a pet peeve. It’s language. Not the potty mouth kind. (I’ve been known to swear like a sailor myself!)

No, it’s language that keeps you small.

It’s language that you use – often to yourself about yourself – that’s full of doubt or even disdain like even you aren’t on your own side.

Disempowering language that seats you firmly in the comfortable place of continually believing and reinforcing that you’re a victim to your circumstances.

Newsflash: You’re not a victim to your circumstances!!

Your language makes up your universe. What you speak out into the world is a direct reflection of how you perceive your world.

Therefore, if your words aren’t supporting you and/or you perceive the universe doesn’t support you being fully YOU in every single way… you’re doing yourself a massive disservice by continuing to perpetuate that illusion.

The good news is that you can change your language and by doing so, change your perceptions, beliefs, and experience!

Not sure what I mean? Read on through the examples below and it will all start to make sense. (You might even spot a few of your favorite sayings in here!)

I invite you to join me in re-empowering your speech.

By banishing these word or phrases from your vocabulary, not only will your outlook and communication improve, you’ll start to set in motion the positive truth about your own agency and power.

Every time you consciously choose your words, you strengthen the muscle to speak up for what you want, and you remind yourself how it’s perfectly OK for you to take up space, and be magnificently expressed in the truth of who you are in all that you do!

Notice how some of these reflect how you’re speaking to others and some may be more how you speak to yourself.

More Empowering Alternatives to "Can You"

The Trap

“Can you _____?” “Can I _____?”

Of course they caaaaaan. Of course you can!

Seeing the wholeness in yourself & others means acknowledging capability. However, just because someone is capable, doesn’t always mean they’re willing to or have space to do so.

So change this to make it stronger, and more honoring of both you and the other person.

what to use instead

Here are a few more direct, empowering terms to use instead of “Can you _____?”.

  • ​“Would you be willing to _____?”
  • ​”Will you ____”
  • ​Simply, “Please _____”
  • ​Or even no “Please”… Instead, DIRECTLY ASK for what you want!

And instead of using “Can I _____?”, try these.

  • ​“I’d like to _____, how’s that sound?”
  • ​“I’m going to _____, cool?”
  • ​“Would it be OK with you if I ______?”

​Watch for where you’re asking permission vs. simply telling someone where you’re at, e.g. Instead of “Can I get back to you about this?”, change that to, “I love the idea. Let me sit with this and I can get back to you early next week if that works for your schedule.”

Close cousins here: CAN’T – watch where you say that you can’t do something when actually it’s that you’re CHOOSING to not do it. e.g. Instead of, “I can’t right now.” Speak the truth, “I don’t have the bandwidth at the moment, but if you’d like to follow up with me next week, we can discuss it then.”

Turn your “Can’ts” and “Have-To’s” into clear, conscious choices – this is truly so powerful to be aware of!

More Empowering Alternatives to "I'll Try"

The Trap

Nope. “I’ll try” is a half-assed way of saying “I want to, but I feel like a victim to the circumstances of my life, and don’t have any control over what happens to me and/or what I have the power to create.” That may be extreme, but you get my point. “I’ll try” is not empowered. It’s like a limp noodle saying it’s going to try but it’s still laying there all limp and noodley.

When you hear yourself saying “I’ll try…”, it often stems from feeling confused, overwhelmed, OR (big one) as a way to get out of committing, because you really don’t have the bandwidth and are too chicken to say NO and set your firm boundary!

Sound familiar?

what to use instead

​When you hear yourself saying “I’ll try”… ask yourself some clarifying questions:

  • ​“Hmm… do I really WANT to do this?”
  • ​“Does saying YES to this align with my current goals right now?”
  • ​“If I do want to do this, does it make sense to do it right now, or is this something best to shelf (aka consciously procrastinate on) for a time down the road when I have more bandwidth or it aligns more with my goals?”

Change “I’ll try” to a conscious CHOICE: Yes or No.

​One quick & easy way to ask yourself this is “Is it a hell yes or is it a no?”

And if it’s not a hell yes… are you just feeling scared of saying no? Notice this & gently wonder into why. Sometimes we’re stopped in our tracks by these fears, but they quickly dissolve when we listen to what’s happening underneath.

​Remember: YOU hold the key. YOU are a powerful creator. YOU’RE the boss. And when you CHOOSE to say YES to something, YOU consciously create space for it.

You DECIDE. YOU consciously commit.

This doesn’t mean it won’t be scary or won’t take work on your part. Of course not. (That’s probably why you’re feeling jangly about it, hence your lack of committing!)

Now, once you DECIDE to commit, change your language to “I WILL” and then choose the action step you’re going to take to support yourself:

  • ​“I will add this to my list.”
  • ​“I will look into that & get back to you.”

Remember, “I’ll try” doesn’t have to turn into a “Yes, I’ll do this”, it can also turn into consciously thinking about it and/or consciously NOT committing to it:

  • ​“I am not sure I have space for that, let me consult my calendar and priorities and I’ll get back to you.”
  • ​“Hmm, I need to feel into if that’s something I want to commit to right now.”
  • ​​“Ooh, cool idea. I don’t think it’s right for where I’m at, but it’s fun to think about!”

​Notice all these examples include no commitment, and that’s OK. But also watch out for where you may delay your decision and add another item to your to-do list, vs honoring your precious time & energy (this is energy management) and choosing to give a firm, “No, this isn’t in alignment with my priorities right now, but thanks anyway!”

More Empowering Alternatives to "​Just"

The Trap

​“Just wanting to _______””I was just ______”

​What to use instead

​Every time you write just – watch out for where you’re making a disclaimer or justifying yourself for taking up space; i.e. asking, speaking up, or not knowing something.

Note: Just is not a dirty word. It’s a totally valid word to use when describing something you were just doing. However, it’s all too often used as a disclaimer to mousey-mouse make it OK for you to be who you are.

You can also still use it in the other ways, but use it consciously to humble yourself or make something light, vs. doing it because you’re unconsciously playing small.

More Empowering Alternatives to "Should"

The Trap

Don’t should on me, yourself, or anyone else!

“Should” is driven from external expectation of what you ‘should’ be doing.

Again, this comes down to the awareness of, “How are you talking to yourself?”

Because there’s an underlying/unconscious belief pattern in should that says, “You’re not doing enough” or “What’s the matter with you… if you had it all figured out & you were doing things perfectly, you’d be doing this already.”

NOPE! Not helping.

What to Use Instead

When I started consciously changing this, I started responding, “Well, there’s a lot of things I should and could do… but if I was trying to do all of them I wouldn’t get anywhere. Which is why I choose to focus on what I WANT to do!”​

Oh, hallelujah for conscious choice in these sweet lives!

​Change those shoulds to conscious choices. Yes or no. Want to / Don’t want to. Choose. Don’t “should.”

And when speaking to others, replace it with “recommend” or “invite.”

More Empowering Alternatives to "​Push"

The Trap

“I need to push myself” or “You have to push yourself.”

​What to Use Instead

​I get that sometimes we need to step out of our comfort zones and gather the courage and stamina to keep going… but I’d MUCH rather see it connected with your WHY; aka ALIGNED with your desired outcome.

Then you’re not “pushing” yourself from the “should” or “have to” – which can lead to feelings of obligation, resentment, and ultimately rebellion. Recognize that pattern?

Did this get your conscious vocabulary fires burning?

What are some other phrases or words you’ve been noticing aren’t serving you & are ripe for a change?

Remember, you can strengthen your awareness muscle with use, and the next thing you know it becomes second nature!

If you got some value out of this, stay tuned…. because I WILL be in touch soon with some more valuable insights!

Yours in consciously co-creating awesomeness every day,



About the Author

Willo Sana has been empowering entrepreneurs who are standing on the precipice of their next level for over 20 years. An international keynote speaker and sought-after Transformational Business Coach, Willo's experienced and intuitive guidance has served as a catalytic force for visionary business owners around the world. Anticipation is building for Willo's upcoming book, Double Down on Your Genius: Own Your Gifts, Align Your Actions, and Flourish in Your Calling, set to release in 2023.

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