Say Goodbye to Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda

Have you ever caught yourself thinking, “If only I could have done that differently?”

This second guessing is a form of self-imposed stress.  It happens when our self talk is full of should, could or would. “If I were good sister, I would have called my sister last night. If I were a good Mom,  I would have studied with my daughter today. If I were a good spouse,  I wouldn’t have become impatient with my spouse. If I were a good boss, I wouldn’t have been so critical just now.” Funny how “good” rhymes with should, could and would.

Self-imposed stress can be the most debilitating of all. The enemy within, it saps us of energy, deflates our ego and causes our self-esteem to plummet.

Remember, nobody is capable of giving 100 percent, 100 percent of the time.  It’s not humanly possible.  We can only do our best in each moment, not someone else’s best, and accept that we won’t meet everyone’s expectations, including our own, all of the time.

Here’s the real opportunity, a little known fact.  Those never-ending critical voices that swirl around in our heads are really only interested in helping us be “good” at one thing. They are called Gremlins and their prime objective, hard as it may be to believe, is to keep us safe by keeping us small. 

 These unwitting saboteurs perch on our shoulders and shout into our ears things such as, “A good friend should have . . .” or “A good employee could have . . .” or “A good spouse would have . . .” Contrary to appearances, Gremlins are actually misguided allies trying to protect us. Though their tactics are sneaky and complex, there are sure-fire ways to convert them from our biggest saboteurs to our greatest allies.  We’ll explore the complete multi-step Gremlin conversion process in future blogs, meanwhile, you can start making inroads with this simple first step.

Laugh.  The next time your Gremlin shows up, acknowledge his presence, and laugh.  Tell her there’s no room in the inn.  Nothing takes the wind out of the sails of a bully like being laughed at.  So, go on, laugh yourself silly. 

The next time, and every time, the voices of ‘shoulda’, ‘coulda’, ‘woulda’ come to call, laugh, thank them for the entertainment and invite them to invest in a more constructive way to contribute to your life.

© Copyright 2012 DJW Life Coach LLC. All rights reserved.

About djwlifecoach

As a retired board-certified coach, author and Reiki master teacher, I continue to share hope, possibilities and empowerment with the world. What's love got to do with minimizing stress and getting unstuck? Everything! My book, "Choose Your Energy: Change Your Life!" (Hay House/Balboa Press 2013) shares my story and the stories of 10 of my clients along with my signature Discovery Framework. During my 30 years as an organization transformation consultant, I served as a senior partner in four of the world's largest, most prestigious global professional services firms. In 2005, I took a five-year sabbatical to find healing and peace because non-stop work had taken its toll. My recovery from burnout, including a sustained 80-pound weight loss and freedom from 10 years of debilitating depression, led to finding my purpose sharing hope, possibilities and empowerment with the world. Through healing and self-exploration, I discovered that loving yourself unconditionally is the key to transforming your personal life, your work and the world. With attention and intention, I learned to live in alignment with love through a wealth of energy-shifting tools and techniques that help me reduce stress, anxiety and overwhelm by releasing limiting beliefs, emotions and habits. My books, blog and radio episodes help individuals and organizations harness the transformative energy of love to turn unexplored possibilities into fulfilling realities and step into their greatness. Learn more and access FREE resources at For fun, I love singing, reading, sewing, knitting, golfing and movies. I live in Williamsburg, Virginia with my husband, Wilson, and the coaching cats who manage my life—SiddhaLee and Maisy Jane.
This entry was posted in All My Blog Posts, Curiosity, Respect & Compassion, Intuition & Intention, Stress, Perfectionism & Burnout and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.