Shoulda Coulda

If I were my boss, I’d fire me. Or at least conduct an employee counseling session in which I’d give myself the ultimatum to “shape up or ship out.”

After years of faithful blogging, I haven’t written in a month. I have seven partially started projects that are languishing. I owe people calls, I’m behind on marketing my books, and I have half a dozen friends waiting on me to commit to a lunch date. I’m stuck.

There’s nothing wrong; I’m not ill, I’m not unhappy, and I have no pressing family problems. To paraphrase a 1998 movie title, I feel as though I just need to get my groove back. Note: I was going to title this post “Back in the Groove” but thankfully I searched that title before I committed it to writing. It turns out there was (is?) a reality show of that title where three single women in their 40s (older women, according to the online hype) meet up with a bunch of younger men at a hotel. I believe the phrase “reality show” is a misnomer because I don’t know anyone for whom that would be a reality. Anyhow…

If you’ve been with me for a while as a reader, you know that I believe God sends us help and yes, sometimes via mysterious ways, such as in an email.

I subscribe to Daniel Pink’s biweekly newsletter. Pink is a researcher and author who writes in a down-to-earth style. He’s been mentioned several times previously in this blog space (see below for links), and often his writing prompts me to take action.

Included in his newsletter is a short (usually under three minutes) video that he refers to as a Pinkcast. The January 24 Pinkcast contained this linguistic trick for dealing with challenges: Change one word.

Instead of asking ourselves, “What SHOULD I do?” ask “What COULD I do?”

Pink says that research from Harvard Business School found that “should” is a restrictive word that causes us to feel as if there is a limit to the number of correct answers to a challenge.

“Could” on the other hand, helps to widen our thinking and remove boundaries, enabling us to develop multiple solutions.

Pink also included this Mark Twain quote:

The difference between the right word 
and the almost right word is the difference 
between lightning and a lightning bug.

When I asked myself, “What could I do to get back in my groove?” one response was that I could write one post for my readers.

May this day be full of right words and possibilities for you.


The Pinkcast from January 24, 2023

Prior Lifted Up posts where I’ve mentioned Daniel Pink.