two words you should always remember never to use

“Always and never are two words you should always remember never to use.”

—Wendell Johnson, 20th Century American psychologist, actor, and author

Did you know that always and never are considered violent words? In the book Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life, Marshall B. Rosenberg PhD suggests these words usually get in the way of compassionate, heartfelt relationships.

Consider what you think and feel when people in your personal or professional worlds use these words to dramatically make their point. This practice generally conveys considerable judgement and a critical view, thus attacking the perspective held by the other parties.

EXERCISE:

Where is being right and making others wrong through the use of the words always and never getting in the way or diminishing the kinds of relationships you sincerely desire?

Words are Thoughts with Wings

“Our words are our thoughts with wings. We open our mouths, our minds fly out.”

—Barbara Ann Kipfer, Author of Self-Meditation

Image of a flag reading "Watch your words"

Image from A Place to be Encouraged

We humans have a superpower not shared with any other creatures on Earth.

Given today’s quote, you would be correct in labeling language as our superpower.

With it, mankind has literally shaped and manifested all kinds of wondrous things, and some horrid things as well.

I’ve been watching a National Geographic Channel series called Origins: The Journey of Humankind, which points to a wide variety of moments that have shaped our society. Consider the impact of language on technology, medicine, government, monetary systems, and even war and terrorism on our world today.

EXERCISE:

Consider your inner voice and the words you choose to let fly into your personal and professional worlds. Be sure you are giving only your best when you decide to give others a piece of your mind.

If you check out the Origins series, let me know your thoughts!

They invented hugs to let people know

“They invented hugs to let people know you love them without saying anything.”

-Bil Keane, American Cartoonist, author of The Family Circus

Image of LOVE statue

Image from Flickr by Jan Karlo Camero

On this Valentine’s Day, let’s imagine we are from Missouri—the “Show Me” state—where actions speak louder than words.

In his book The 5 Love Languages, Gary Chapman states that only one of the languages actually says anything. The other four ways to show our love are:

  • Spending quality time
  • Receiving and giving gifts
  • Acts of service
  • Physical touch, including hugs

EXERCISE:

How can and will you say and demonstrate your love for the special people in your life, this Valentine’s Day, and every day to come?

Consider picking up a copy of Chapman’s important book, to become more masterful at demonstrating your love to others.

The Town Gossip

“Live in such a way that you would not be ashamed to sell your parrot to the town gossip.”

—Will Rogers, 20th Century American Cowboy Humorist

Image of a parrot

Image from Flickr by Martin Pettitt

Did you know that parrots experience peer pressure? Just like humans, they desire to fit in with others in their group. This is one reason they learn to copy the sounds and language of the people around them.

This morning at the gym one of the other regulars was talking with a trainer. I was shocked by the level of vulgarity, back-stabbing, and general gossip in their conversation, especially being in a public place.

EXERCISE:

How do your actions and use of language stand up to the parrot test? What adjustments might you make to have the town gossip say only good things, or at the very least, say nothing about you?

Love the Giver

“Love the giver more than the gift.”

-Brigham Young, founder of the Latter Day Saints

QC #965Years ago, I read The Five Love Languages to enhance my relationship with my wife Wendy. I still recommend this book to coaching clients who wish a better understanding of their partners. The gist is that there are different ways to show love. We almost always choose to show love in the way we like to receive it.

By tuning into the offerings of others, we can embrace their gifts in the way they are intended, instead of missing the message because we are not speaking the same love language.

EXERCISE:

How could you fully love the givers in your life by embracing every gift they have to offer, in the love language that fits them?

“Never look back unless…”

“Never look back unless you are planning to go that way.”

—Henry David Thoreau, 19th Century American author, poet, philosopher

photo from www.yourperfectdaybyjess.com

photo from www.yourperfectdaybyjess.com

At this time of year a fair number of organizations schedule various forms of management meetings to discuss their current status and plan for the future.

They often refer to these group sessions as “retreats,” which I find amusing, since I am sure none of these leaders wish to take their organizations backward.

Recently, some leaders are recognizing the power of the language they use, and are beginning to call these off-site meeting “advances.”

EXERCISE:

Plan you own “advances” with key individuals in your professional and personal worlds to move toward the future you sincerely desire.