By Nancy Fredericks


Nancy Fredericks pens Women Lead Change's "Mindful Mondays" column, appearing the second Monday of every month. Fredericks is a preeminent Business Executive Strategist, Author and Thought Leader. Corporations like Johnson & Johnson, PepsiCo, Adobe, Allergan and Transamerica have retained her to optimize individual and organizational performance. You can find her at The views of Nancy Frederick's blogs represent her own and not necessarily the views of Women Lead Change.

LOL… It means I’m going to be sharing a miscellaneous collection of leadership wisdom with each of you exceptional women.

Are you ready to begin planting powerful success seeds through your speaking that will lead to a bountiful career harvest? Because all you require is one new idea that you incorporate, and the trajectory of your professional future turns on its ears!

I’m reminded how harmful the words executive women use are to their future while coaching them and often during our Thrive@Work MasterMind Program.

More often than you realize, women undermine their leadership presence by the very words they use. What am I talking about?

Career Turnaround #1 Think instead of Know: With “think,” you leave a ton of space for uncertainty to raise its ugly head. Do you have more confidence in a leader who says: “I think our future is secure” or “I know our future is secure” or “Our future is secure?"

  • Record Yourself: Practice having conversations with your boss or co-workers, or preparing for a pivotal meeting. Then, listen to yourself. How does the power of your language compare with leaders you trust and admire? What adjustments do you need to work on? Practice recording yourself upping the game of your vocal presence.

Career Turnaround #2 What Does “I’ll Try” Signal To Others?: Is your boss viewing you as: “Wow, is she’s going after that project like gang-busters.” Or will your leaders be thinking: “I’d better keep my eye on that project?”

As pertinent: “What do you mean? Is it: “I can practically guarantee I’ll get this finished on time? However, I hate to fail, and I want to look good, so I’m giving myself a ‘get out of jail free’ card?” Does this rationale sound like a leader in training? I don’t think so!

  • Start Saying: “I intend” or “I will.” Doesn’t that sound as though you’re more in control?

Career Turnaround #3 Eliminate “I’m Sorry”: I know we women have had that phrase drummed into our heads as a requirement to be polite acceptable women in society. Yeah, perhaps valid in your personal life (though we all probably use it too much even there), but its frequent use will rarely add value on your march to leadership.

And men don’t respect it. They say: “It’s irritating when I’m mentoring a woman on how to improve a project when they flip an ‘I’m Sorry’ at me. They didn’t do anything wrong!”

Do you even realize the emotional weightiness heard in your casual throwaway, “I’m sorry.?” It expresses feelings of regret, repentance, compunction, regret, sympathy, or pity. Is that your intended message? If it is, good, but if it isn’t, stop using it in the office.

  • Practice: Eliminating “I’m Sorry” as a business response. And instead, start saying, “Thanks. Let me review the project with this in mind.”

Career Turnaround #4 Listen To Your Internal Voice: Being yourself is more career-enhancing than anything else you can do. When coaching women regarding style changes, that can and will make a difference,.the next piece of advice I offer is: “But don't do it because of me. Listen to your intuition. You know you, and nobody else can be you.

  • Test: It’s time to examine where any resistance to being all you can be is emerging from, so you can verify it isn't your fear holding you small.

Continue eliminating lackluster words and adding forceful words to your leadership lexicon by observing: What other words do you hear being articulated by your coworkers that don’t sound like leadership to you?

Remember. If you discover you’re in a career droke (valley) feeling as though your trajectory is to steep to climb, consider exploring how and what you say. It is either sending a commanding or an unconvincing message about you and your abilities! Are you prepared to work on this side of your career competency? If you’re fist-pumping a big, fat yes, then define: Who you intend to be in your organization and practice that entity as often and purposefully as possible right now!

Thanks for indulging me. Sometimes I yearn to use those Words of the Day!

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