How to Stop Your Shoulding From Making You Musty

Even my most idealistic executive coaching clients can become frustrated and angry at other people they interact with. As they passionately vent their feelings to me, I quickly hear the voice of their values, cluing me into their underlying values-system, values judgments, and expectations. Three red flag words mark a values judgment: SHOULD, OUGHT, and MUST. Changing one’s self-talk by replacing these three words can greatly reduce one’s anger and frustration. Practicing self-control allows motivationally intelligent executives to choose the most beneficial response and to avoid regrettable overreacting.

One’s values-system consists of 16 different needs which we each give different priorities and experience in different intensities.  Our values-system creates the rules we use to maintain our consistent worldview and underlying values judgments.  Unfortunately, our rules for life also can create our expectations for how other people SHOULD behave and MUST treat us. 

The Science of Motivation® teaches that we each passionately believe our values-system is best and that other people will be happier if they change to our ways of doing and thinking.  That’s why we “SHOULD” all over the people we love and work with.  It’s also why we get so frustrated and angry when people violate our rules and expectations and do their own things.  

“She OUGHT to know that would tick me off!”.

“He MUST apologize for treating me that way!”

“She really SHOULD have known better!”  

Motivationally intelligent people understand their values-system and how it creates their SHOULDS, OUGHTS, and MUSTS, hot buttons.  They can learn to exchange SHOULDS with COULDS and MUSTS with WISHES.  These simple mental self-talk upgrades can be highly effective at creating more self-control and more appropriate responses to other’s behaviors.

To help keep my executive coaching clients’ SHOULDS from making them MUSTY, I start by having them complete a Reiss Motivation Profile®. This gives us scientific insights into their unique values-system. Next, I often recommend “Learning to Tell Myself the Truth,” by Dr. William Backus, Ph.d. This is an excellent workbook to improve one’s self-talk and provides practical practices for replacing one’s SHOULDS with COULDS. Working together as your accountability partner, I can help you ensure you strengthen your self-control and interpersonal effectiveness.

Could you be more effective if you stop SHOULDING on people? If so, I am happy to help you be your best at doing your good! Together we can keep you from being MUSTY!

Want to discuss what working together might look like?