What if Your Future is Mapped by Your Words
The words that come out of your mouth explain 4 things.
- Who you believe you are.
- Who you believe others are.
- What matters.
- Where you are going.
But where do your words come from?
Origin sets direction.
The place your words come from maps the journey ahead.
Speaking out of:
#1. Speaking out of status:
Words reveal the perceived status of the speaker and those listening.
High status people speak about the big picture. Low status people speak out of self-concern.
“The higher anybody is in status, the less they use ‘I’ words. The lower someone is in status, the higher they use ‘I’ words… A high-status person tends to be looking out at the world. The low status person tends to be looking more inwardly.” James Pennebaker
What future is created when you speak out high status?
#2. Speaking out of gratitude:
The language of gratitude is humble and inclusive.
- Notices others. Gratitude may begin with an inward look. How do You feel? But gratitude always turns outward.
- Acknowledges benefit. Gratitude humbles because it acknowledges that you benefit from the contribution of others.
- Elevates others. Grateful people recognize personal need when they appreciate how others make their life richer, fuller, and more successful.
The trajectory of gratitude is up and out. The trajectory of ingratitude is down and in.
What future is created when you speak out of gratitude?
#3. Speaking out of weakness:
Weakness focuses on itself and what can’t be done.
Weakness focuses on problems, struggles, disappointment, and dread.
Weakness ruminates. Ruminating spirals downward and inward.
Self-reflection is about learning and growth. Weakness gets stuck in self-obsession.
If you have a loud inner critic maybe you should get out of your head.
“… high ruminators seem to be less focused on their performance,” Tanovic
What future is created when you speak out of weakness?
What future is created when you speak out of fear, love, power, confidence, dream, imagination, strength, or anger?
Your Use of Pronouns Reveals Your Personality (HBR)
He Counts Your Words, (Even Those Pronouns) (NYT)
Leaders speak out of CLARITY and CONVICTION!
They are clear on what is –the current situation and what’s possible–what we can become.
Leaders have the ability to use words that paint a clear picture and deliver their message with strong conviction. But the words must be repeated over and over.
When you speak out of weakness, you are reinforcing the doubts, limitations, and negative self-talk that people engage in.
Thanks Paul. Love the two “C” words. You remind me to go with my highest point of clarity and speak with my deepest conviction. Cheers.
The concept of rumination mapping the future hit home. If I feel very bad or guilty about something I did or did not do, or if I really feel aggrieved, I tend to ruminate on it – what I should have said or done. (it is a family trait) When this happens (thankfully not too often), my future, actually my present, is usually negative. It is only when I “get out of my head”, that my situation improves, becomes more positive.
I intend to recognize when I start to ruminate, give myself a few moments to acknowledge the issue, that I cannot change the past, that rumination is for the most part unhelpful or even harmful, get out of my head and move on.
I love your work Dan. May you and all readers have a safe, healthy and grateful Thanksgiving.
Thanks Jackie. Your reflection on ruminating is so useful and leaderly. The part about acknowledging the issue and then moving on makes so much sense. I imagine that burying an issue doesn’t help. But circling the black hole is a dead end. Cheers
Top of duh
#1 Our words are who we are.
At the end of the day
be proud of who you are.
#2 Wars start with words.
#3 Words once spoken
are never forgotten.
#4 A kind word does the
the wise man speak.
There are but 2 reasons
for opening ones mouth
during a meeting.
You are either making
something better for
someone, or for something.
Otherwise, “SHUT YOUR PIE-HOLE!”
What do yo think Dan? Soun familiar? Some Leaders just don’t realise the power of their words. In just a moment of anger or frustration an unkind word can ruin teams, friendships, and possibly organisations.
“This a wise man who learns
early to control ones lips!”
Cheers my friend;
Great seeing you today, SGT. It would be useful for all of us to have respect for the power of words.
A pie hole is for pie. (Just saying.) Cheers
As always, I find your words powerful.
I have a theory, never been tested, that high performing companies, attract high performing staff, and low performing companies, attract low performing staff.
High performing staff, leave a toxic environment and go to where they are fulfilled. Low performing staff, stay where they are and attract kindred spirits.
One is outward looking, the other is not. Just my theory, but its in tune with this posting, I think.
Thanks Jacintha. I appreciate your insights. It seems like high performers have options. Low performers have to stay put. (Just a thought)
Gratitude is a lifesaver! We will die without it, both literally and figuratively speaking. Happy Thanksgiving!
That said, I can’t help but be bothered by the value judgments I perceive in this post, as reflected in the choice of “words”: “higher” vs. “lower” status, “weakness” and “self-obsession.” What if we acknowledged that true power–and status–comes from within and is, as Dr. Martin Luther King said, “the achievement of purpose?” Power is available to every single one of us if we make the courageous decision to use it.
And why not speak in terms of “vulnerability” or “fear,” legitimate emotions that indicate an important need is not being met? It takes courage and strength, not weakness, to admit that we are feeling vulnerable and afraid! What’s more, empathy is often born of suffering, not weakness.
I also beg to differ with the notion, “The higher anybody is in status, the less they use ‘I’ words.” Really??? Capitalism, the best economic system in the world, would not be in the sorry state it is if this were true. What’s more, so many leaders would be more emotionally intelligent if “higher status” enabled them to gaze upward from their belly button.
Words are powerful! They are the expression of our thoughts, attitudes, beliefs, and assumptions. Unfortunately, many of us are operating — thinking and speaking — unconsciously and, quite often, impulsively. As stated in this post, self-reflection, which results in greater self-awareness and acting with conscious intention, is the key to a learning and growth.
Life is happening in the here and now. We need not wait a moment longer or impatiently anticipate a brighter future. The future is now. From this point forward, let’s stop judging ourselves and others and consciously tap into something greater than external status symbols or conventional notions of strength to create greater individual and collective outcomes rooted in our common humanity. Let’s be conscious of our thoughts and our words without judging them. Let’s then adapt them in accordance with our highest values. I’m confident the impact will be immediate. And that’s one more thing to be grateful for!