Posted on / by Debra Alfarone / in Entrepreneur, General, How To

The 4 words to stop saying NOW

Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

Our words have the power to CREATE our entire lives. 

Yes, I’m a journalist and a writer and, as such, I’m super respectful of the spoken and written word. You may think I’m being overly dramatic, but wait. Think about the power of these words and phrases:

“Will you marry me?”

“I’m sorry.”



These words and phrases can change the energy of the room, or the trajectory of your entire life. 

Words have the power to move us, to create our careers and our destinies…..and they can also ruin things. (Ever drink too much and say the wrong thing to someone? Oh, just me? Nvm)

It’s not a coincidence that one of thought leader and author Don Miguel Ruiz’ Four Agreements as outlined in his book is, “Be impeccable with your words.” In fact, it’s the first. 

Ruiz is a huge influence on this blog post – and the other is author and thought leader Tara Mohr.

Ok, let’s get to it: 


If you stop reading right now, just promise me you’ll take with you this lesson: Saying sorry when you’re not sorry dilutes your power. As in, “Sorry, I just had a question….” or “Sorry, I didn’t hear you?” Sorry can be an automatic reaction if, let’s say, you bump into someone, or if someone asks you to make plans and you can’t make it (“sorry, I’ve already scheduled an appointment that day”). How often do we do that? Hell, I’m guilty of it from time to time.

Why do we feel so badly about asking for what we want, or asking for someone to repeat something? What happen is when we apologize for having needs, we’re diluting our power, and telling the world we’re not worth it – that we’re not worth the attention or the time. But, we are.

Now, there are some timely reasons to actually say you’re sorry if you’ve done something wrong. If you’re really at fault, own up, apologize and move on. 

While we’re on the subject of apologizing, I’ve heard that saying sorry without changing anything is considered manipulation. Yep. One way to say sorry and make it stick is to “restore integrity.” Here’s how:

1 – State the broken promise. (I agreed to meet you at 6pm and it’s now 6:30)

2 – State the impact. (I’ve left you waiting, unsure if I was going to show, and feeling like I disrespected your time)

3 – State what you’re going to do to ensure it doesn’t happen again. (Next time, I won’t schedule a meeting past 6pm)


Here’s why we should say goodbye to “just.” It diminishes whatever comes right after it. If you’re a journalist, it adds in just the slightest touch of editorialization.

Ever pop your head into your bosses office and say “I just wanted to float this past you.” How about, “I want to talk to you about…” The latter is stronger. Or for my writers and journos: “He was just 15 when he started his business.” That’s that editorialization I was talking about. Let the viewer decide the teen was extraordinary in starting his business at his age. 


This isn’t a word to avoid, rather, it’s a way of speaking to avoid. I used to “fill” when I first started reporting. I would jam all my words into one long run-on sentence, never pausing until I got to the end of my live report and it was time to say, “back to you, so-and-so.”

The tip to fix this comes straight from Tara Mohr: Punctuate and Pause. When we talk and talk and don’t pause, we don’t allow time for our words to sink in. We are word-bombing our viewer. It comes from being nervous, and maybe even not believing we have the right to be there. Pauses can be just as important as the words we say. Pauses = confidence.

Does that make sense? 

Ever ask that at the end of a sentence? I’ve done it too. Asking if something makes sense actually creates uncertainty. It’s almost like you’re unsure if you made sense, necessitating the question. You could replace it with any of these: “How does that sound to you?” “Does that appeal to you?” “What are your thought about that?”

I hope these tips serve you! Comment below and let me know.


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