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So what?

How rude, right? The phrase “so what?” is usually uttered to dismiss a comment. It’s a conversation ender. Where do you go after “so what?”

“My boyfriend didn’t bother to thank me for the gift I gave him.” So what?

“I’m not very excited about this project.” So what?

“My boss was really upset with me today.” So what?

You get the idea.

But what if we reimagined the phrase?

So…this happened: My boyfriend didn’t bother to thank me for the gift I gave him. What…can I do now? I can honestly tell him that I was hurt by his lack of acknowledgment.

Different, right?

Now “so what” becomes a summary of the situation and a call to action. If you’re coaching or mentoring someone, it’s a great tool to move that person from being stuck in the past into an action focused on the future.

You can use this on yourself, and you can also come to agreement with your teams that you all have the permission to use this tool as a means to one another produce a breakthrough. Next time someone comments “so what?” after you make a statement, pause. Then ask the question from the reimagined perspective, and thank whoever “so-whatted” you for the coaching!