Forbidden Phrases (347)

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In this episode, I talk about what I call my “Forbidden Phrases.” Nothing alarming, just some phrases that push my buttons.  They’re redundant. They’re often unclear. And they’re just not necessary.

I’m guilty of many of these myself. But once I made a point of adding them to my growing list of what causes my awareness antenna to rise up, I realized how often I tend to rely on these fluffy phrases, and I make a sincere effort to use other words. Words that are not redundant, perhaps a phrase that’s a little more clear and certainly not superfluous.

To be honest, at the end of the day, do you know what I mean? 100%. 

Time to pivot!

I hope you’ll join me for this episode!  

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347. Forbidden Phrases [01.27.2023]

Thu, Dec 29, 2022 1:43PM • 8:20


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Hey, everybody, it’s Mike. And this is the “How’d It Happen” Podcast, solo series, the short little episodes that I do every Friday where I talk about something that interests me, something I’ve heard about, something that was shared with me that made me think, and I put my own little spin on it, and then I share it in these short episodes, maybe 10 minutes or so. They’re all different, but short, so it’s a nice little thing, because on Mondays, I do an hour-long, generally an hour-long show where I have a conversation with someone who’s had tremendous success in their life, and we dig into how it happened for them, and more importantly, why it matters to you.

So check those episodes out, there’s a lot of value in there. And these ones are just me. So today I am going to talk about something that’s really kind of close to me, and I call it “Forbidden Phrases.”

I’m just going to be honest with you, it bugs me when I use phrases that are redundant, unclear or just plain unnecessary. And to be honest, it bothered me a little when other people use them too. Damn, I just did it. I said, “and to be honest.” “To be honest and it’s cousin, “honestly,” are at or near the top of the list. Whenever I use these, or hear others use them, I wonder why? Should I be wondering about your honesty with me? Or should someone be wondering about my honesty with them when I start with, “Honestly?” Do you use these cousins when you want me to know that you’re what you’re about to say is more truthful, which I think is what honestly really is, then what the rest of what you tell me?

Or maybe it’s just a crutch, or a nervous twitch of sorts, which makes us feel better about saying something that might offend or challenge or embarrass the person we’re talking to? Maybe it’s that,

Honestly, all I can say is that it makes me question you more than lean into whatever truth quote unquote, “truth” is coming my way.  .  . if I’m being honest.

Here are a few others that make my awareness antennae rise up:

At the end of the day. Way over-used, especially with executives, politicians and lawyers, I always think to myself at the end of what day? What I think they mean to say is that the reality or the fact is dot, dot, dot, whatever it is, but using at the end of the day makes whatever follows seems so certain, maybe even prophetic. Do you know what I mean?

That’s the next one. Do you know what I mean? I’m never exactly sure whether people use this to question my ability to comprehend or to admit that whatever they’ve just shared isn’t super clear to them. So why should it be to me? And to be honest, I should use “Do you know what I mean?” more often, because oftentimes, the stuff that comes out of my mouth, it’s like super clear to me, but it’s not at all clear to other people. That’s something I need to work out. But maybe using “Do you know what I mean?” is just really a way to invite agreement. And I think yeah, that’s gotta be it. Like, do you know what I mean? Meaning I don’t really care if you know what I mean. I just want you to say yes. Because yes, it’s good.

100%. That’s my next one: 100% It’s really, really common now for people to answer questions with 100% to any questions, or to any statement, you know, it’s like, oh, it’s sunny today. 100%. I think I get where this came from, right. It’s just a quick way to acknowledge agreement, like a language emoji or something like that. That makes it kind of cool, I guess. Where I wander off the 100% Reservation is that I’m rarely 100% sure. Or “in total,” which I think is 100% of anything.

Does that make me the problem? And am I the one who needs to pivot?

That’s my last one, at least for today. That’s my last one. It’s my last forbidden phrase today, “to pivot.” Such a sexy word for change. pivot. In business life and relationships. I always understood pivot to be like a circular movement, though, off like a fixed point, like the way a basketball player pivots, right? They have to keep one foot planted, and then they can move all around. But ultimately, they don’t go anywhere. They don’t go anywhere, until that pivot foot moves. They’re stuck with a pivot. So to me, that’s about movement — but not change — because it just doesn’t take you anywhere new. When you say someone pivots, okay, so they move around on a fixed axis, what does that do? That doesn’t do anything. Real change, for me, real change requires a shift, not a pivot.

And that’s the reason I’m pivoting on pivot and pushing for shift. And I’m hoping you’ll follow me.

I know that you all have your own forbidden phrases, the stuff that drives you crazy. I say things like, “okay,” that drives my wife crazy. I don’t know why. Well, I kind of know why. Because sometimes I say okay, and it’s kind of like a dismissive okay.

And ever since the last time she told me that it bothered her, that it was one of her Forbidden Phrases, I’ve become very aware of when I want to say it. And I have said it a few times, but very rarely, since she told me that, because I am aware now. And maybe some of these ones that I’ve shared with you today, my Forbidden Phrases, you know, are things that you say and maybe not, maybe you’ll think about them a little bit differently. And catch yourself if you want to catch yourself and maybe use something else instead of one of these and maybe you won’t, and either way it doesn’t matter. I just hope that listening to this had some value to you. 

I do appreciate the time that you invest in me and invest in this podcast. I value it, and I want to make sure that you’re getting what you want out of this podcast. I thank you for subscribing. If you haven’t subscribed yet, please hit the subscribe, hit the Follow button on Apple or Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts, you should be able to find me there and subscribe.

And until next time, I want you to maximize the greatness that’s inside of you. I want you to make your future your property. I want you to make your future something that you own

Mike Malatesta

Mike Malatesta

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I help entrepreneurs get unstuck, take back their power, achieve their life objectives, and create the futures they want.

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