I have several friends who send me interesting emails – the kind that often add a smile or a giggle or a thoughtful pause to my day. Recently I received one with the following link:
It is worth a watch. It got me to thinking about the message “Change your words. Change your world” and what a difference that can make in how we interact with our colleagues, clients, family and friends.
We’ve all experienced the positive effect of a few well-chosen words – the smile you get in return for a simple “Thank You”, the glow that accompanies a compliment.
But we’ve all also experienced complete disconnect over words that seem out of context, or harsh, or “unnecessary”. The fascinating thing to me is that the value/impact of a word changes based on our experience of the world, not just on our understanding of the word itself.
For example, I know what the words “always’ and “never” mean – in fact I doubt there’s much argument out there on multiple meanings for those two words. But I rarely use them. To me they seem limiting and close the door to options and possibilities. But for a dear friend of mine, “always” and “never” are just statements of fact based on what is known – no future application is considered or implied.
There are a million other examples of differences between people when it comes to language usage. Those differences have a profound impact on many aspects of our daily lives – what marketing appeals to us and what turns us away, which leaders motivate us and which leave us shaking our head – and our relationships. Let me assure you that a key source of conflict in our personal and work relationships is disconnect over what the words being used mean to both parties.
So the next time you get a reaction from someone over something you’ve said that surprises you, stop to ask what it meant to them before you react. You’ll be amazed at the differences you’ll uncover……and the conflicts you’ll avoid!
Because when you change your words you really can you change your world.