One of the most powerful tools you have as a changemaker is your power of speech as your spoken word is a powerful force of transformation.
So watch what you say because what you say, and how you say it, reflects what is in your mind. And, it is an intermediate between your thoughts and your actions.
Your words are a prelude to your actions and therefore they create your destiny.
As a leader, as a teacher, as a influencer, as a changemaker, as a parent, as friend, it doesn’t matter, people are always looking at you.
You’re always being watched.
The words you use and the energy they carry are a big part of how people perceive you showing up as your words reveal what is going on in your head and your emotions.
So, how do you show up? With what kind of energy do you engage with the people around you and how do your words shape the relationships you have with them?
Are you words words of transformation, of healing and harmony, of growth and of wisdom? Do your words liberate or bind people? Are they words of inclusions or separation? Are your words words of potential and possibility, of creativity and of joy?
It’s useful also to be mindful of how congruent you are in what you think, feel, and say. And how does that come out in how you speak?
Because people have a sense, they smell it when we’re incongruent even when our words are beautiful. And when we’re out of congruence even a beautifully crafted message may well fall flat …
As a changemaker remember Gandhi’s words about being the change you want to see in the world.
How well do you manage yourself so that you truly embody the change you want to see in the world? So that you’re a role model that people learn from simply by spending time with you.
There’s a paragraph in one of Seth Godin blog posts that I really like. He wrote:
If you had a manager that talked to you the way you talked to you, you’d quit. If you had a boss that wasted as much of your time as you do, they’d fire her. If an organization developed its employees as poorly as you are developing yourself, it would soon go under.
Perhaps you don’t recognise yourself in those words. But, still, I invite you to have an honest reflection on your Self-talk, how you manage your time, and on how you’re developing yourself on an ongoing bases.
I’ll go into the power of time and how to develop yourself in future episodes of this podcast, and for now I would like to focus on the power of your words - especially the words you use in your self-talk as that determines to a big degree what you’re really transmitting to others when you speak.
Because as Rita Goswami once said, what you have inside you expresses itself through both your choice of words and the level of energy you assign to them.
The more healed, whole and connected you feel inside, the more healing your words will be…
There was once a saint who was visiting a holy river to take a bath. As he arrived there with his students they found a group of family members on the banks, shouting in anger at each other. He turned to his disciples, smiled and asked.
'Why do people in anger shout at each other?'
The disciples thought for a while, and then one of them said, 'Because we lose our calm, we shout.'
'But, why should you shout when the other person is just next to you? You can as well tell him what you have to say in a soft manner.' asked the saint
The Disciples started give some more answers but none satisfied the saint.
Finally he explained…
'When two people are angry at each other, their hearts distance a lot. To cover that distance they must shout to be able to hear each other. The angrier they are, the stronger they will have to shout to hear each other as to cover that great distance.
What happens when two people fall in love? They don't shout at each other but talk softly, Because their hearts are very close. The distance between them is either nonexistent or very small...'
The saint went on, 'When they love each other even more, what happens? They do not speak, only whisper as they get even closer to each other in their love. Finally they even need not whisper, they only look at each other and that's all. That is how close two people are when they love each other.'
He looked at his disciples and said.
'So when you argue do not let your hearts get distant, Do not say words that distance each other more, Or else there will come a day when the distance is so great that you will not find the path to return.'
Now, I love this story as it makes such a beautiful point. But it has also made me think about the distance many of us create within ourselves to our own hearts through our self-talk.
How aware are you of how YOU talk to yourself?
Are you so in love with the essence with who you are that there’s hardly any self talk and you just bathe in the joy of your own presence?
Or do you notice that the way you speak to yourself and the words you use is symptomatic of the distance you’ve created to your own heart?
The more your internal mental and emotional landscape is one of wholeness, acceptance, generosity and kindness, and the more you know who you really are, the more magnetic you become as a person and the more others will be drawn to you.
Self awareness is important, and a key component of personal growth and having a high performance mindset that supports you in thriving in all areas of your life.
The better you’re able to assess yourself the better you’ll be able to assess others and help them with their growth.
By becoming aware of and evaluating your self-talk you will become aware of unconscious habits that don’t serve you.
We used to ask the people we were training on high performance to carry a bunch of paperclips in one of their front pockets. Every time they caught themselves having negative self talk they were to take a paper clip from one pocket and put it in their back pocket, or the other front pocket.
The idea was to time how long it would take for them to empty their pocket. This gave people a good idea of their self-talk habits.
You can try this out for yourself and see what happens.
The way I like to work with self-talk is three fold.
First is self-awareness. The act of paying more conscious attention to my self talk.
The second is to start to change HOW I talk to myself and make sure that the way I speak to myself is congruent with my values and the changes I’m after both within me and that within the world around me.
So examine your self talk.
For example is your internal narrative one of appreciation for what you have accomplished in life? Is it one of encouragement and of possibility? Is there gratitude for everything that has brought you to this moment now?
Is your Self-talk that of self-love and is it kind?
You can still be honest with yourself and recognise that you could’ve done better but it’s about the way in which your correct yourself and the internal words you use.
The third way I work is by listening to what I am saying. As I speak what do my words reveal of what is going on within me?
The power of words is such that as I start to consciously change the words I speak I start to change my thoughts. Words have creative power and they work both ways.
In the same way that our state of mind is reflected in our breath and that by changing the way we breathe we change the state of our mind we can use the words we speak to change the way we think, and we can use the way we think to change the words we speak.
Words are magical and create a world within us and a world around us.
Use them consciously and wisely because your words are your magic wand with which you can transform the world.
And when you listen closely to the words other people use you can hear the world they are creating for themselves and others.
If you are after change, for yourself or for others, embrace the power of words.