Common phrases that are sabotaging your career

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The stuck in the mud -- "But we've always done it that way..."

This saying reminds me of people who say, "When I was a kid, we didn't have cell phones and birds tweeted, not people." Again, getting back to the faster-than-a-speeding-bullet world of today, effective leaders value innovation, creative thinking, and problem solving. So the person who says this in a meeting sounds closed-minded and inflexible. Perhaps before you react to a different idea, take a moment to think and say, "You know, I'd love to hear about it when you have more facts and you've flushed out the idea."

The naysayer -- "That's impossible" or "There's nothing I can do"

Really? Are you sure you've considered every single possible solution and the list is now exhausted? Certainly the Apollo 13 astronauts didn't have the luxury of saying, "This is impossible." They had to come up with a solution; their survival depended on it. So when you make a negative statement, your words convey a pessimistic, passive, even hopeless outlook. 

The fortune yeller -- "You should have..." or "You could have..."

You probably wouldn't be thrilled if someone said, "You should have told me about this sooner" or "You could have tried a little harder." Chances are, these fault-finding words inflict feelings of blame and finger-pointing. Blaming and finger-pointing don't foster a collaborative team building environment, and you usually don't win the hearts and minds of your colleagues and leaders.