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A note from the CEO, Sarah Watterson.

Should, Would, Could, DID

A note from the CEO, Sarah Watterson.

What seems like a million years ago my grandmother used to say to me ‘there is no such word as can’t; there is only will or won’t’. (Being quite literal I never really got it as I was pretty sure can’t was an actual word – it’s in the dictionary!!) As it turns out she was talking about our intentions – our intention to do something or not. You could argue semantics about the actual human capacity for some things (I want to turn invisible, but I can’t. True, but apply this logic and the answer is you won’t). But take the extreme out of things and the excuses of can’t, and all we have left is ‘we will’ or ‘we won’t’.

In my Grandmas case, I also think she was saying that if I have the will; I can do anything (again, still working on becoming invisible!!).

As a mother, partner, friend and colleague I often hear (and say) I can’t. But is it true? Can we, but we don’t want to? Can we, but we are nervous? Can we, but the result is uncertain? How many of the negative statements are actually attached to emotion rather than ability? So, let’s consider a mind shift, let’s move from ‘I can’t’ and into ‘I will, or I won’t’. And let’s separate the emotion from the ability. Choosing the right words can determine a greater success. Choosing this language makes you take ownership. When it comes to your education remove the use of the word can’t (upskilling is already about recognising what you don’t know – so we already know you can’t!!). Our thoughts can lead to self-limiting beliefs and our language can uphold these beliefs. These beliefs stop us from achieving what we should, would and could if we changed our language and mindset.

Am I saying that everyone can do everything? No, I am not. I am saying that everything that is attempted will be a success first time or easily? No, I am not. Am I saying that you won’t still feel emotions? No, I am not. What I am saying is that replacing can’t with will immediately brings success and puts your emotions in check. ‘I will’ is an empowering statement and the beginning of something, and the beginning of anything is already a win. Chipping away bit by bit is a success. We have changed ‘should would could didn’t’ to ‘should would could did’.

Education is a great confidence booster and has extremely positive impacts on your wellbeing and quality of life. Education can also be daunting and bring about doubt. When you next need to make a decision about your future and your thoughts slip to ‘I can’t’; consciously move your thoughts to a more productive place and tell yourself that you will.

Best wishes



Note: Does not apply to teenage boys. Default setting appears to be ‘I don’t want to.’