When things get busy, and work gets stressful, it’s easy to focus on all of the things we have to do. “I have to do this.” “I have to hit this deadline.” “I have to finish this.” When our plates are full, and there’s so much we have to do, the pressure builds and stress rises.

There are limited things we can do on a daily basis to control the out-of-control. In today’s more with less workplace, our responsibilities grow every day. One of the things we do have control over in this go-go environment is our mindset. Flip the script. Instead of focusing on all we “have to do,” we can look at those things through the lens of “I get to.”

“I get to serve this client.”

“I get to help build this business.”

“I get to exceed their expectations.”

At first glance, you may look past this as glass half full, positive soft stuff. We’ve all heard it before. Can changing your mindset really make a difference?

I’ve tried it, and it works. In the spirit of full transparency, I was battling a case of the “I have to’s.” We’re growing our business, things are busy, and in those overwhelming moments, sometimes that’s how I look at my to-do-list. It’s a list of things I have to do.

Here’s the reason that doesn’t work. It’s the same kind of list that I had as a kid. I have to do the dishes. I have to make my bed. I have to take out the trash. “Have to” is the language of teens doing chores. It’s the voice of someone approaching their work with dread.

The problem with that is this… If I bring dread to my work, my results will be dread-full. There is no way to bring the “have-to” mindset to your work without it showing through in the work itself. The same goes for taking a “get to” approach. When I get to do something, versus have to, my mindset shifts from dread to excitement. Anticipation builds, my approach is stirred and enthusiastic, and my creativity spikes.

Personally, when I changed my language and mindset, replacing “I have to” with “I get to,” everything changed. I have been able to leverage this new mindset to get more done, and to have more joy in the doing. I still find myself swamped and overwhelmed some days, but by simply changing how I encounter my workload and stress in my head, I have transformed those moments from negative to positive. No, it doesn’t work every time, but it has been a game changer.

Think about it. Who would you rather work with? “Have to” or “Get to?”

The Takeaway

Stop when you catch yourself saying “I have to…” Flip your own script, change your mindset, and insert “I get to…” instead.