The Tour of Alberta went past my house last Sunday. It’s an inaugural cycling race through the gorgeous Alberta countryside featuring the top international cyclists. Think Tour de France level competitors. Seeing these amazing athletes streak past reminded me of a memo I received years ago, and the importance of being clear in your language.
The memo was intended to be motivational, and likened one of the company’s high performing teams to “a biker breaking wind.”
My immediate imagery was of a large, burly, hairy, smelly hell’s angel biker letting one rip. Not very motivational.
To an audience of cyclists though, the ‘biker breaking wind’ is the cyclist in front that works harder, so the ones following can get a break. Now that’s motivating.
See how powerful and important words are?
How does this apply to you? It’s a reminder to be very careful about the language you use, especially to describe yourself.
While on a recent seminar with Suze Casey, a magnificent presenter with a wonderful system called Belief Re-Patterning (which I encourage all my clients to try at home), I learned this simple yet powerful word association that Suze developed. Try this for yourself. Say the words out loud, and notice how you feel after each statement.
First, pick something dear to yourself, like a favourite animal or person. I’ll use my cat Mombo. Then say the statements:
1. MY cat Mombo. (Use your name, like My friend _____, or My co-worker ____.)
2. THIS cat Mombo.
3. THE cat Mombo.
4. THAT cat Mombo.
Notice how you feel about Mombo as you say the statements. MY cat Mombo makes me feel all warm and fuzzy. THAT cat Mombo has a decidedly different ring, and you can just imagine what that darn cat just spat up in my shoes! Each statement separates the object from me to a greater and greater degree. By the end, I don’t even own a cat.
When you are speaking about yourself, only use “I am” statements for positive thoughts. These are equivalent to the MY statement above. “I am smart. I am positive. My curiosity. My exercise routine.”
For negative statements concerning your past behaviour or thoughts, only use the words that separate the thought from you. “In the past, THAT negative behaviour used to paralyze me. THE belief I used to hold about losing weight no longer serves me. THAT concept that I was poor at managing money is wrong.” These statement will serve you much better than “I’m negative, I can’t lose weight, and I suck at saving money.” Feel the difference?
Cool. Now get out there, speak kindly about yourself, and break some wind for others. Shine your light so you can be a beacon to others.