What if Your Future is Mapped by Your Words

The words that come out of your mouth explain 4 things.

  1. Who you believe you are.
  2. Who you believe others are.
  3. What matters.
  4. Where you are going.

But where do your words come from?

Origin sets direction.

The place your words come from maps the journey ahead.

Ship and map.

The place your words come from map 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.


  1. Notices others. Gratitude may begin with an inward look. How do You feel? But gratitude always turns outward.
  2. Acknowledges benefit. Gratitude humbles because it acknowledges that you benefit from the contribution of others.
  3. 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?

Bonus material:

Your Use of Pronouns Reveals Your Personality (HBR)

He Counts Your Words, (Even Those Pronouns) (NYT)