Shift to powerful speaking.
When it comes to feeling good about yourself and feeling in control of your life, your language choices can make an unexpected difference. According to a study at the University of Arizona, the average person uses 16,000 words a day. And that means that you have 16,000 opportunities to shape your message.
Part of the time, the words you use to communicate your thoughts, feelings, and intentions are deliberate. But, most of what you say comes out unconsciously and mostly without thought. That’s unfortunate because the words you choose matter very much. Words are thoughts, and thoughts become beliefs over time that can prevent you from getting what you want in life and conveying your best self to others.
Have you ever caught yourself saying “I have to” do x or y?
The trick in changing your mindset is to interrupt your thoughts and replace them with new, empowering ones.
The next time you find yourself saying that, catch yourself and ask: “Do I really have to do it? Do I want to do it?” What would it be like to say, “I want to” or “I’d love to”?
“Try” is another widespread word that can leave you and everyone around you feeling a little doubtful. “I’ll try to.” What are the odds of making it happen with this level of commitment?
There are times when you’re not sure you can fit something into your schedule and you don’t want to overpromise; that’s a good intention. However, does it provide much assurance? Not really. What if you said, “Here is what I can promise….”
Often our language is unconscious. We don’t realize what we are saying and how it is coming across to others. Nor do we realize what our language also says about how we feel about something and how committed we are.
How to communicate more powerfully
The first step toward more effective, uplifting vocabulary is awareness. Dave Ellis, Master Coach, writes about the Ladder of Powerful Speaking in his book Falling Awake. He describes the concept of shifting your language from that of obligation to making a promise.
Pay attention when you start thinking “I should” and question your level of obligation. Then, see if you can set a new boundary for yourself — without any guilt.
Yes, there are a few things, like taxes and bills, that you should take care of, but there are many other things you can more freely determine your level of commitment.
If you’re procrastinating (and everyone does), check in with yourself with these questions to figure out what’s behind putting tasks off:
Is the task difficult, unpleasant, or otherwise nerve-wracking? If so, can you overcome these barriers, make it more enjoyable, or push through?
Does saying you should or ought to do something, inspire you to do so?
Does talking about all the things you might do or you’d like to do, move you toward action?
Notice instead when you have a clear desire to do something. If you speak with passion and enthusiasm, you are more likely to put your energy into something. Along similar lines, when you plan to do something, you are guided by purpose and specific action steps. Also, when you make a promise to do something, you are so committed to it that there is nothing in your way: You are all in!
Take the example of getting fit and how a change in the verb can be much more empowering:
“I should lose a few pounds.”
“I’m considering losing a few pounds.”
“I want to lose a few pounds.”
“I’d love to lose a few pounds.”
“I plan to lose a few pounds.”
“I will lose a few pounds.”
Better yet: “I am losing a few pounds.”
If you aren’t yet on the promise rung of “I will/promise,” don’t beat yourself up. Own it. It isn’t a matter of jumping up the ladder; it’s a matter of figuring out where on the ladder you want to sit. So, be honest with yourself. If you don’t feel it, you won’t get behind it, and you won’t do it. You will continue to be a victim.
On the flip side, if you really want something, speak your plan and make a promise that’s ironclad.
Get more out of your life by being true to yourself and using language more effectively. Consciously make simple changes to your words that match your intentions. Then, you’ll feel empowered and inspired to obtain joy and success.
Lisa Petsinis is a certified coach who works with resourceful individuals who want to create a life they love. Visit her website to learn about her coaching programs and workshops, contact her for a discovery call, or grab her free guide “5 Simple Ways To Start Turning Your Life Around Today.”