All our words are but crumbs that fall down from the feast of the mind. ~Kahlil Gibran
What did you just say? Take a moment to reflect on what you’ve said so far today, or if it’s early in the day, consider your conversations yesterday. How many words do you estimate you spoke? What was the impact of your speaking?
It is so easy for our words to just come falling out, without even thinking about what we are saying, or what we will create in the process of uttering them.
Whatever words we utter should be chosen with care for people will hear them and be influenced by them for good or ill. ~Buddha
Think about the words others have spoken to you? Pick one person from the past week. What words did they say to you? What did you sense was underneath those words? How did what they said make you feel?
There is such power in words, especially when they are thoughtful and come from beyond the logic of our minds and are washed over by the kindness of our hearts.
Words are just words and without heart they have no meaning. ~Chinese proverb.
We create with our words. Words are the building blocks of our thoughts. And our thoughts are the building blocks for big things – creative ideas that lead to innovative solutions, emotional connection with others that builds longstanding relationships, the way we feel about ourselves and how that impacts what we do in the world.
And, it’s not just the words we speak out loud to others. It is also the words we say to ourselves. Are you aware of how you talk to yourself? What are the dominant words that you tend to use?
Our words have incredible power: power to move us and others to action, to make amazing things happen, to create powerful change. How are you using your power?
Words are a form of action, capable of influencing change. ~Ingrid Bengis
Below are a couple of suggestions designed to help mind your words and to explore how they can create powerful shifts in your life and relationships.
Experiment with using different words and noticing how they make you – and others – feel. Some suggestions are provided below. Come up with substitutions of your own by noticing when something you say (to yourself or out loud) or something someone else says creates fear or negative energy for you. Then, consider other ways something that was said might be phrased to create something more encouraging or positive.
|Instead of this word…||Use this word…|
|Attack (e.g., attack barriers)||Discover, overcome|
|Determine, decide, figure out||Explore|
|Drive (e.g., drive change)||Create|
|Have to||Get to|
|Permit (e.g., permit action)||Accept, allow|
|Problem, challenge||Opportunity, possibility|
|Weakness||Area for growth|
Take a few minutes each day to give some thought to your words. Pick a time of the day when you will sit quietly in an introspective moment. For those of you following this mindfulness series, perhaps you use the time that you are already using for a mindful pause. Take a few intentional breaths to tune into the moment – like dialing in to a station – and consider what you’ve said in the past hour, to others or just inside your head to yourself, and ask what energy your are creating and putting out in the world? Is it what you want? How is it shaping yours or others’ feelings, beliefs and attitudes, choices and actions?
Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless. ~Mother Teresa
NOTE: This post first appeared on the IBM Jobs Blog on July 26, 2016.
I’ve written other posts here on Leading with Intention about the power of words and communication:
And below are some posts from some of my other blogs. Did you know I blog regularly over at And Then Opens Possibility (inspired by my 2nd book of poetry) and Where Possibility Awaits (includes inspiring quotes with photos I’ve taken) I’d love to see you over there.
* I took the photo of a sign outside of a shop in Santinilla del Mar, Cantabria, Spain.