Cool story, bro

Cool-story-broYou tell the same story every single day.  It's a story where the protagonist is charming, handsome, talented, clever and resourceful, but, no one really gets behind them.  No one really believes in what the protagonist is up to in this story.  Here's how the story goes: "I'll try"

Sometimes, for the more artistic, it has a little added flair, like "I'll give it my best", "I hope so", or "Most likely".

This story sucks.

Have you ever watched or a read book like this?  The protagonist has plenty of admirable qualities, but they just aren't worth their word.  It's kind of hard to get behind them.

You're playing this story out every day.  Every single time someone requests something of you and you respond with "I will try", you are telling this story.  That protagonist is you.

You even tell yourself this story, letting yourself off the hook, not holding yourself accountable.  This story doesn't serve you, and it doesn't serve anyone around us.

Do you ever get this from people?

"Hey, can you do me a favour and do this?"

"I'll try"

It sucks right?  Every time someone tells you "I'll try", they're really saying: "Don't rely on me".[Tweet "Every time someone tells you: I'll try, they're really saying: Don't rely on me."]

It's spineless.  It's a way of saying no, without actually saying no.  This story erodes your credibility and your integrity.  It lessens the value of your promise, and it saps your integrity.

At some point in our culture, we decided that No was a bad word.  The better thing to do is to tell someone you might be able to help them out, or that you will try, and leave it at that.  But that's bullshit.  It's just providing yourself a way out.

When I first started coaching, I had to get comfortable with making phone calls.  Calling people up and asking them if they were interested in doing a complimentary session with me.  I would make promises to my coach (she doesn't accept "I'll try" as an answer) and then put things off.  I'd tell myself I just wasn't "feeling up to it" right then, and that I'd go back to bed and be ready to take it on in the morning.  (You can guess how this went right?)

Every morning, I would wake up, no more empowered - just the same jerk that went to bed.  And, dammit, I still had those calls to make.  I still had that promise to fulfill on.

The point is this: Nothing is going to happen unless you say so.  Your word is the starting point.[Tweet "Nothing is going to happen unless you say so.  Your word is the starting point."]

If you declare you will do something, it very possibly will.  If you don't, it almost certainly won't.  There is no power in "I'll try" (or any of its permutations).  It is just a way of hiding out.

So start holding yourself accountable.  Accountable to actually say "No" when you mean it, and to hold yourself accountable when you say "Yes".

It's what leaders do.

What would it mean if you held yourself accountable by cutting "I'll try" out of your answers?  Where do you use "I'll try" (or the rest of its ilk) as a way of leaving yourself a way out?  And, how might people relate to you differently if you only ever told them "No", or made declarations?