I Get To vs. I Have To

I Get To vs. I Have To

Say the title of this blog out loud. Do you feel the difference energetically as you pronounce the words? I do. What I do know for sure is that a shift in words can instantly create a different outcome in your life and in your work.

I was inspired to write about this topic after dreaming last night about a book I read last year called I Get To: How Using the Right Words Can Radically Transform Your Life, Relationships & Business by Alicia Dunams.

Let’s break it down further. “I have to” brings forth a sense of heaviness, dread and often leads to feelings of guilt or resentment. “I get to” brings a sense of excitement, action and the perspective energetically of being a blessing or a gift. Let’s take the task of exercise for example. I don’t necessarily enjoy exercising then add on the have to thought and I immediately feel dread, rebellion and heaviness coming on. After reading Dunams’ book I now on most days reframe my perspective to I get to exercise. For me it makes a huge psychological difference. Many people do not get to exercise at all because of disabilities or physical ailments. Can you identify with this example?

I get to…you get to….we get to work in nursing or our respective positions in healthcare! We have chosen this work. Take a moment to sit in gratitude for the work that you get to do, the difference you get to make on a daily basis!

The words we choose to use really do matter. You can truly change your life and your perspective by simply shifting your language. Here are some other examples to reflect on:

 Try.  Yoda says: “do or do not do, there is no try.” How true. Using the word try or trying is a way of subconsciously letting yourself off the hook. It ultimately removes your responsibility and accountability for the outcome of the situation/circumstance. Feel the difference by saying out loud I’ll try vs. I will. Do you feel the commitment difference? I will or I choose to shows accountability and a commitment to the outcome.

Can vs. can’t. Henry Ford once stated, “whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t, you are right.” Our thinking and our words create our reality. So shift I can’t thinking into what can I do? Then take action toward what you can indeed do.

Think about a recent challenging situation or circumstance in your life. What perspective did you view it from? Ask yourself did it happen to me or did it happen for me? This reflection will take you from the victimhood perspective to the responsibility/accountability perspective. On the later perspective, how did the challenge help you learn or grow personally or professionally?

Tune into your words and perspective it brings, as you are creating a ripple all day every day. If you want to change your life I challenge you to reflect daily from the perspective of I get to vs. I have to.

Remember this statement: I get to…you get to….we get to work in nursing or in our respective positions in healthcare! What a blessing we are to the world. Ripple on from the get to perspective.

I get to refuel my heart through the choices I make every day. How will you refuel your heart today?



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Cella Hartline Cella Janisch-Hartline, RN, BSN, PCC Professional Certified Coach, Nursing Leadership Senior Manager for Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative has been involved in various healthcare industry leadership positions for the past 40 years. The majority of her career has been spent working in an acute care critical access facility for nearly 25 years. Throughout her work experience, she has learned most of her leadership skills and techniques through the school of “hard knocks”. Cella’s passion for teaching leadership tips and techniques earned her the 2018 Outstanding Educator Award through the National Rural Health Association. She is well-known for her humorous, engaging and personable facilitation style.
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