Stephen Akintayo — If you want to become more successful as an
entrepreneur or in your career, you can start by making a habit of
talking and thinking more like the people you know or read about who are
Here are some phrases you’ll never hear a successful person say:
1. “We can’t do that.”
One thing that makes people and companies successful is the ability
to make solving their customers’ problems and demands their main
priority. If a need arises repeatedly, the most successful people learn
how to solve it as quickly as they can.
2. “I don’t know how.”
Instead of automatically shutting down solution-finding, successful
people learn what they can in order to succeed in a project or in their
career. For example, you would never see a truly successful
international business consultant who travels to Italy multiple times
per year refusing to learn Italian.
3. “I don’t know what that is.”
Pleading ignorance doesn’t make the problem go away. It just makes
the asker find someone who is able to work with them to solve the
problem. While’s it’s always good to be honest with those you interact
with, finishing this phrase with “but I’ll find out” is a surefire way
to become more successful.
4. “I did everything on my own.”
The best people know to surround themselves with others who are
smart, savvy and as dedicated as they are. What makes this work is
always giving credit where it’s due, as due credit to you will always
come back in hand. Recognize those that have helped you or made an
impact and you’ll continue to earn success and recognition yourself.
5. “That’s too early.”
You would never hear Benjamin Franklin or someone such as Steve Jobs
say, “that is too early for me to be there.” If there is a networking
meeting, project launch or interview opportunity at the very beginning
of the day, the most successful people do what it takes to be there.
Part of being successful is being at the right place at the right time,
no matter if you’re a morning bird or night owl.
6. “That’s too late.”
Along the same lines, if you’re asked to a 9 p.m. dinner by a
potential business partner, and you can make it, definitely go. You may
be tired the next day, but the connections you will make during a small
dinner or after-hours meeting can make all the difference when it comes
to your career or next project.
7. “It’s too bad we couldn’t work together.”
Truly hitting it off with someone can be a rare occurrence, but if
you truly connect with someone and want to work with them, find a way to
make it work. Finding people that you really enjoy communicating with
don’t come along too often, so whether it’s a case study or a new
business, successful people know that working with those who truly align
with your personality and interests are the path to true success.
8. “Let’s catch up sometime.”
Many times, this phrase is said as filler, without any true follow
up. Successful people know that if they really want to catch up with
someone, they follow up to make it happen. This also builds on the idea
that the most successful people have worked hard to build genuine
connections and relationships within their network, without any hidden
agenda. Nurturing your network means being thoughtful of others, while
keeping your relationships with them on top of your mind.
9. “I’m sorry, I’m too busy.”
If an opportunity comes their way, successful people do what it takes
to make it happen. Sure, this might mean longer hours occasionally, but
if you want something to work, that is what it takes. After all,
according to Lao-Tzu: “Time is a created thing. To say ‘I don’t have
time,’ is like saying, ‘I don’t want to.’”
10. “That was all my idea.”
Again, as mentioned in number four, the most successful people spread
the wealth when it comes to doling out praise from a successful
project. No idea is truly one’s own — it’s a sum of their experiences
from interacting and building off of collaborative ideas with a team.
Doling out praise and encouragement is a crucial part of building a
successful company and culture.
11. “I never read books.”
Tom Corley of Rich Habits found that rich people read (and listen to)
books at a much higher rate than poor people: “63 percent of wealthy
parents make their children read two or more non-fiction books a month
vs. 3 percent of poor.” Also, “63 percent of wealthy listen to audio
books during commute to work vs. 5 percent of poor people.” Reading non-fiction (as well as fiction) can help reduce stress, enhance creativity and boost your memory.
12. “I’m not good enough.”
Part of being successful is having a high sense of self-worth.
Being yourself is one trait that promises success in business and your
personal life. Follow your true interests. What you would do in your
life if you didn’t need money?
13. “It’s OK.” (over and over)
Successful people know when to walk away and stop taking excuses from
others. If there is a bottleneck and something (or someone) is
preventing you from completing a project on time, build up your
business, or move you forward in your goals, then it’s time to set
boundaries and decide to limit your involvement.
14. “If our competitors don’t have it, then we don’t need it.”
Copying competitors is one of the many possible deaths for most
companies. True innovation comes from the flip side: figuring out what
competitors aren’t doing and fill that niche to answer a need in the industry.
15. “Time off is for suckers.”
True success should be seen as a well-rounded approach, one with
vacations, weekends with friends and family and hours of downtime on the
weekdays. While workload varies for everyone at times, taking vacation can make you better at your job.
Sometimes to get to where you want to be, the best and easiest thing
to do is to simply follow the examples that others set for you.
What phrases are you going to eliminate from your day-to-day conversations and thinking?