A friend of mine was struggling at work recently. It was a human roadblock. Round after round of feedback from from this person that provided one variation or another on, "this won't work." "The system doesn't work that way." "The product can't do that." And so on.
When we say, "this won't work," we shut progress down. As much as, "This might not work," creates space, "this won't work" shuts us down.
Next time you're tempted to fall into this downward spiral, try something like "we could do it this way." Try, "this might not work." Try something that focuses on where we go from here.
When you focus on where we go from here, instead of not being where you want to be, you create space for something to happen. You create a sense of partnership. It's the language equivalent of sitting beside a person in a negotiation, rather than across the table from them.
What we say matters. Choose your words wisely.