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August 08, 2013

Removing "Try" from Your Vocabulary

August 08, 2013

I recently heard a great presentation about time management from CJ McClanahan, president of reachmore. I actually used to work for CJ and have so much respect for who he is as a businessman and leader. His coaching and mentorship have had a significant impact on my career, and I loved having the opportunity to hear him speak. As expected, I left challenged and motivated to make some changes in several areas of both my professional and personal life. There was one nugget of advice in particular that has made a huge difference in my daily attitude and behavior: remove “try” from your vocabulary.

CJ explained a concept he calls the "5 Levels of Commitment," which is basically a method for evaluating how committed you are to a particular task, deadline, event, etc. He calls a Level 3 commitment the “I’ll try” commitment. His point was that when we only commit to “I’ll try to be there,” or “I’ll try to get that done”, we are giving ourselves an out. It’s not an “all-in” commitment. CJ challenged us to either do it, or don’t, but stop saying “try.”

I was really motivated to raise the awareness around how I talk. I’m someone who places high value on being a woman of my word: say what I mean and mean what I say. To me, it’s a reflection of my integrity that when I say I’m going to do something, you can trust that I’m actually going to do it. It’s one thing to use the word “try” when talking about trying a new food or trying a new yoga move, but when it comes to committing to something, “trying” is too open ended.

I set out to monitor how often I use the word “try” and noticed that it really made me stop and think before I committed to something. It actually felt very freeing to give a solid “yes” or “no,” instead of “I’ll try.” I felt more accountable for what I committed to, and I was therefore less likely to over-commit myself and then not follow through on everything.

The heightened awareness about the words I use and my committment level has had a really positive impact on how I work. So give it a whirl! I recommend challenging yourself to be more aware of how you speak and to be ALL IN when you make a commitment.

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