“What’s words go to do with it?”

PIcture of me in the garden“what’s words got to do with it?”

Issue 3
October 13, 2011

I have something different I want to share with you this month. It’s every bit as important to creating a lifestyle for wellness as eating healthy foods, living sustainably and exercising, but it’s not something you can purchase at a grocery store, or get by going to the gym.

Here’s a riddle: What’s within you that’s always present yet can be totally changeable, feeds you or leaves you feeling deeply unsatisfied, affects you and everyone you come in contact with, and is light as a feather or heavy as a lead ball?

Guessed it yet? It’s your attitude. Our thoughts create our attitude, which dictate our actions and influence our results. Based on what you think and feel about yourself and the people around you, you create your world. This is internal stuff, I know, but it relates directly to how we interact with the world and the kind of engagement we experience.

At every moment we live our life from the flow of internal energy, both positive and negative, and it affects our ability to accomplish our goals, how we experience tasks in front of us, how we relate with another person or situation, and whether or not we work effectively.  Our attitude exists on a continuum, and a negative perspective blocks our self expression, robs our experience of joy, is physically depleting to ourselves and others, and generally can create a hell within our minds and hearts.

Who hasn’t been there?  We know what it feels and looks like when “Debbie or Donald Downer” enter the room. What about when that person is you?

This past month I injured my back, and it rendered me on the couch with ice for two weeks. I couldn’t work, nor was I able to advance on other projects. (I did get to watch season 4 of Mad Men though!) On top of it my computer died, so I was left feeling really stranded for several days. My mind, however, kept me very busy. As you can imagine, I was all over the attitude continuum, sometimes visiting new low points.

Language is the currency of our thoughts, and nothing shines the light on the state of our attitude faster than our choice of words.  They reflect our motivation; their tone tells the back-story of where we may be blocked by our fears, our misconceptions, or our limited beliefs. Language is powerful and can transform us or dishearten us immediately. While I spent time on the couch, I played with how to see my situation.

The power of language is about our power of choice, and I encourage you to experiment with this for the coming month. Choosing better words is as important to wellness as upgrading our food choices along the continuum.

Don’t take my word for this, for the next month, why not experiment by paying attention to how you say what you say, your tone of voice, and the effect it has on yourself as well as others. If you can, also pay attention to how others speak their thoughts to you. The following exercise will help.

THE POWER OF WORDS GAME: Listed below are some common words that carry a surprising amount of negative or depleting energy.  Come up with alternatives for each example in the Positive Words column. (Answers are provided below in the second column.)

POSITIVE WORDS         NEGATIVE WORDS
1.                                            Should, might
2.                                            Need to
3.                                            Have to
4.                                            Can’t
5.                                            Always/ never
6.                                            Must
7.                                            But
8.                                            Hope/try           

So using this exercise you might say something like this: “I’m choosing to see my mother this weekend.” VS. “I have to see my mother this weekend.”  The experiment is to be open to what it feels like within you, if it changes your experience or level of engagement at all.

Changing our words changes how we rate the activity/experience. We’re automatically at the cause rather than the effect immediately. WHAT IF, WHEN YOU USE ONE OF THESE WORDS, YOU DON’T BELIEVE IT, AND CONFLICT ARISES?   Well, in coaching terms you’re then out of integrity with your value, and that is always an informing place to consider looking at.

ANSWERS:

1. Choose, desire
2. It’s important to me
3. Desire to
4. Am not willing to, choose to
5. Sometimes, often, seldom
6. Choose, desire
7. And
8. Intend, aim


aim to have my newsletter interactive by next issue and until then, please send your comments, questions or inquiries about Coaching to Ins@continuumliving.us. Or call me  @ 973.239.1600

Until next time,
Ina
PS – And remember – when it comes to positive change, don’t underestimate the small stuff!