My mom use to say, “remove should for your vocabulary”. It was her way of telling us girls to just do it – stop procrastinating and stop fantasizing without applied action. She was well intended but perhaps somewhat abstract.  Mom’s declaration made me think about the difference between could and should – things I can do, versus things I ought to do or want to do…I can jump off bridges but I probably shouldn’t and I definitely don’t want to.  However, most life decisions aren’t that easy.  Should I go out with that guy? Should I buy that house? Should I ask for a raise?  Should I put forward my own opinion? In truth, you could do all those things but without precisely knowing the outcomes, you may not feel confident.

When I consult for clients helping them decide what and how to do their marketing, I sound like a broken record saying there are so many things you could do, but only a few things you really should do and do well. You can get totally swept up on social media or email funnels.  But if you do too many things half assed and/or don’t know concretely if those things matter in the end, you will waste time and money…maybe even at the expense of nurturing customers or partners that you value. Trying a quantity of things until something sticks isn’t wrong but it certainly isn’t efficient.  Figuring out what you should do is what we call strategy.  It is the key to marketing and most things business.

Despite mom’s wisdom, I think selecting what you should do is actually the key to life. Living a strategic life means doing things according to your values. It helps give you focus and permission to deflect people and things that want your attention but aren’t aligned. When you can comfortably say no to people and action items that just don’t fit with your values, it is then that you are truly confident.

So what can you dismiss today that is a “could” but really not something you should do?  Is it reading Facebook 20 times each day instead of reading something thought-provoking and neural-strengthening?  Is it staying late in the office again when you really want to be with your kids or friends? Making conscientious decisions about what you do and if you are OK doing it is a sign of maturity. Ensuring that your decisions are clearly aligned with your values is what separates confident people from all those that ‘could’ be.

Alyssa Dver
Cheif Confidence Officer

American Confidence Institute