Imagine you just started a new job working for the Boys and Girls Club of America. One of the little boys assigned to you comes up and tearfully says, “Jeff just called me the “E” word.” How would you handle it?
Well, I know someone who faced just such a situation last week. And, I’ll tell you how he handled it. But before I do, let’s talk about the power of words and how we use them.
The power of words
There have been a few times (OK, a lot of times) when I’ve felt that I under performed (OK, failed.) So, there are a number of entries in my older journals that start with words like, “I’m so stupid” or “How could I have been so dumb?” and things like that.
As you already know, some prophecies are self fulfilling. I think about how dumb I am and go ahead to prove it.
Use words powerfully
A while back I discovered the power of dealing with my less than stellar actions or thoughts by thinking and writing in positive terms. No, I don’t mean that I then began writing in my journal, “I’m positively stupid.”
On most days I do some things quite well and other things not so well. By taking time to write about both ends of that spectrum I’ve noticed a positive outcome more often.
The formula is simple
- Using your journal write about the one thing you did very well. It can be anything from learning something new to performing a particular task splendidly. Tell what you did and write about the outcome.
- Now, use your journal to write about the thing you would have in the past beat yourself up about. Something you did that was not up to your standards, something you are learning but haven’t as yet mastered. And, write about it this way – What I can do to improve is . . .
The formula is simple, but the implementation of it can be a bit harder
You may have to practice a bit until you get into the habit of thinking of your “failures” as things which simply need more work, a change of direction, something to be improved.
Give yourself a while to get used to thinking in terms of words which are meant to help you improve rather than words which are meant to drag you down.
But what about the “E” word?
Oh yeah, I was telling you how my young friend handled the problem of the “E” word. Both youngsters involved were brought together. The first tearful fellow again complained that Jeff had called him the “E” word. Jeff quickly stepped forward and said, “I’m sorry for calling you an idiot.”
“E” word, “I” word, what does it matter? Don’t use the “E” word when you write about yourself. Instead use these words, “What I can do to improve is . . .”
Each time you use your journal over the next 30 days use the formula.
- Write about what you did well.
- Then write about what you can do to improve.
At the end of those 30 days you are well on your way to instilling a habit which you can use regularly to help your business or your personal life grow. You do want to live life with pizazz, right?