3 dirty words to remove from your vocabulary to feel good again

What makes you feel good? Happy? Fulfilled?

So often when I ask these questions, I get three monosyllable words back:

I – Don’t – Know.

Those my friend, are dirty, flow blocking words to have in your vocab.

Here’s why.

When the coach in me starts to dig a little deeper, I often learn that the person is in a transitional phase in their life and can’t see clearly who they are right now:

–> They did know what made them happy, but it’s changed.

–> They used to know what fulfilled them, but they’ve grown out of it

–> Their priorities in life have shifted

–> Their ‘old’ desires no longer excite them, and their new desires have yet to be born

Have you ever experienced this?  It is as though you just can’t get to the answers you’re searching for, nor the words to articulate what’s going on.

If so, you’re in what William Bridges calls the ‘neutral zone’ – the place of uncertainty and inaction in his book Transitions: Making Sense of Life’s Changes.

And in an act of desperation to express yourself, you innocently use those three words mentioned above.

But in saying those words, your brain stops searching for answers.  With a closed ended statement like “I don’t know”, you unknowingly stop the process of self-discovery.  You enter a place of stuck-ness – a state of inactivity or an underlying sense of ‘numbness’.

So what do you do instead?  

Let’s first relate this to being at the dentist.

Think about a visit where you had some work done that required them to freeze your mouth. While a numb mouth can be frustrating (especially if the assistant keeps asking you open ended questions #beenthere), the reality is there’s not much you can do to speed up the process of feeling your mouth again!

You simply have to give into the pace, have patience and trust that the numbness will slowly and naturally fade away.  And when that happens, you will get your sensations back.  You will feel good again.


So what would the patient version of you now say when you’re in the neutral zone and someone asks: What makes you feel good, happy, fulfilled?

My go to statement is something like this: “It’s actually changing right now and I’m so eager to figure it out so I can do more of it! And in the meantime, I’m actively listening, watching and patiently waiting to receive the answers. I’ll let you know when I’ve got them.”

Doesn’t that feel more open? Engaged with the process? Primed for discovery? And the best side effect? It feels good to say that.  Judgment is replaced with curiosity.

So now it’s your turn.

What would you say?

Leave a comment below and together let’s replace those dirty flow blocking words with statements that encourage discovery and flow us out of the neutral zone.

With love, hope and softness,

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