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Reinvent Yourself With A New Catchphrase

by Confluence
Reading Time: 4 minutes

By: Jacqueline Gates   – Confluence Daily is your daily news source for women in the know.

Let’s have a quick quiz –
If I tell you these quotes, I bet you can tell me who said most of them:

“To be or not to be, that is the question.”

“After all, tomorrow is another day.”

“Please, sir, I want some more.”

“The game was just to find something about everything to be glad about, no matter what it was.”

Oftentimes, truly memorable fictional characters have ‘catchphrases’, certain words that are put in their mouths by the playwright, that become a succinct description of who they are.

An actor will pore over her script to find that phrase, that underlying governing principle of the person she’s going to embody.

“To be or not to be, that is the question.” Is by Hamlet, obviously. Hamlet is the poster boy for the extreme analysis paralysis that can accompany an existential crisis.

When you don’t know who you are, you don’t know how to act. You dither for so long about the ethics of second marriages that you piss off your mother, and then you’re so irrational when you finally confront her that you impulsively skewer someone through a curtain.

“After all, tomorrow is another day.”

Scarlet O’Hara, the epitome of the almost blinkered optimism that comes from a life of oblivious entitlement.

Everything she does, from her contemptuous dismissal of suitors to her stoic acceptance of the torching of her home, speaks to her absolute certainty that she will eventually get what she wants.

“Please, sir, I want some more.”

These iconic words uttered by a small, hungry boy, are to me, the most courageous of any character in musical theater.

Oliver is indomitable. He stands up to Mr Bumble for another bowl of gruel. He attacks Noah Claypole for disrespecting his mother. Despite abuse and terror, he holds on to hope.

“The game was just to find something about everything to be glad about, no matter what it was.”

The Glad Game is what made the character of Pollyana into the lexicon of our times.

Pollyana always looks for the silver lining, no matter how hard to find it may be, or how much it pisses off those upon whom her happiness depends.

She is incorrigible, deeply stubborn in her belief that nothing is ever completely awful.

She’s the embodiment of the attitude that with every mountain of manure comes a pony.

Each character is distilled in the phrase they say most often or use at a peak moment.

Real people do the same thing.

Take Marie Kondo’s “Does it spark joy?”, or Ghandi, “Be the change.”

Each of these expressions are in fact a distillation of that person’s philosophy, their MO, their Beingness embedded in a few powerful words.

It governs how they view the world and their place in it. It governs what they say yes to, what they say no to, and how they respond to events around them.

Ghandi went on a hunger strike to embody pacifistic activism.
You can bet Ms. Kondo would not have said yes to a Netflix series if that didn’t spark joy in her.

By definition, a catchphrase is a phrase or expression recognized by its repeated utterance.

A deliberately curated catchphrase can be a powerful tool for reinvention in becoming by its “repeated utterance” an affirmation of a new direction or identity.

Think of Marie Forleo’s “Everything is figure-outable”. That phrase has been the Prime Directive of her entire entrepreneurial career and galvanizes legions of B-schoolers around the globe.

Jeannette Maw’s “Find a better feeling thought”  is also a catchphrase that’s gone from being a mantra to a mission. As one of the top Law Of Attraction coaches, it not only governs the way she lives, but is the core of what she teach and coaches on.

So how do you harness the directional and transformation power of a catchphrase to aid your own reinvention?

Here’s a couple of suggestions:

Reverse engineer a goal into a statement of habit
You’re looking for the kind of thing someone who has what you want would often say or believe to be true.

For example, in my current iteration, I’m all about luxuriousness – especially in food. That doesn’t sync up so well with my desire to be at my healthiest weight (okay, I’ll admit it, skinny!!) or to fit into vintage clothing which is often ridiculously small and hard to alter.

So one of my own Next Self’s habits is to remind myself (often!) that I’m all about Disciplined Indulgences.

  • Rather than finishing a whole Hershey’s bar, I will splurge on a huge Toblerone and have a single piece after dinner, for a week.
  • Instead of sitting with the bag of Cheetohs on my lap while I watch tv, I’ll put some into a small-ish bowl.
  • We’re eating out less often but at higher caliber restaurants.
  • I’m slowly curating better quality clothing rather than impulse shopping at mall stores.

So far, both my waistline and my closet are seeing the benefit of this new catchphrase.

Reframe something you always say now.
Remember the ‘repeated utterance’ bit? Most of us would be surprised to ‘hear’ ourselves clearly – especially what we say to ourselves. Ask your nearest and dearest what you say most often. I bet you’ll be surprised.

Borrow a phrase from someone you admire and make it your own. Mary Poppins’ calmly inscrutable  “I never explain anything” is one I’m finding useful.


Find your catchphrase. Something powerful that pulls you into the future you desire.

Not only could it become your lodestar, it could become the keystone upon which your fabulous future is built.


More by: Jacqueline Gates

Clutter Is An Opinion


Jacqueline Gates has mastered the art of applying theatrical skills to anchor and amplify the manifesting technique known as acting-as-if.  Because when you begin LIVING-as-if you already are who you secretly dream of becoming, it won’t stay a secret very long.



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