I was recently listening to an interview with James Clear–productivity hacker, athlete and entrepreneur.
He made a very interesting point about two seemingly similar words that can have very different meanings.
Those words? “Can’t” and “don’t.”
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He was specifically speaking about it in terms of self-talk. When you tell yourself you can’t do something, it’s very different than telling yourself you don’t do something.
For example, if you’re trying to lose weight, picture the difference between saying you can’t eat sugar and you don’t eat sugar.
When you say you can’t, you’re restricting an action that you wish you could perform. When you tell yourself you don’t, you’re empowering yourself.
Don’t is a decision.
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It got me thinking about marketing and building a small service-based business.
Imagine a client calls you, and asks if you can do backend development on their website.
Instead of telling them that you can’t do the work, imagine telling them you don’t do that kind of work.
Do you hear how that small tweak in vocabulary can completely change the way you brand and market yourself?
On the one hand, you’re basically saying that you’re incapable of doing the work. Or less valuable of a company.
On the other hand, you’re basically saying you may or may not have the skills to do it, but you have the discipline to not take every job that comes your way.
Creative entrepreneurs who have discipline will find they have the right kind of clients, the best kind of business, and an optimum work balance.
And with a business like that, saying “no” to the wrong kinds of clients becomes easier.
Which frees you up to say “yes” to the right kinds of clients.
Give it a try. I think you’ll be surprised how you begin to feel about yourself and your business once you start using the word don’t instead of can’t.
I’d love to hear your thoughts or experience in the comments.
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