As 2022 approaches, I find myself reflecting on what I got to do in 2021. I got to see family and friends again, I got to return to special places I cherish, I got to explore new ways to serve clients, I got to see torrential downpours in California, I got to enjoy several road trips with loved ones, and the list goes on and on. Such reflection is the foundation for my gratitude. I am grateful for what I get to do daily, which breeds more intentional reframing of what I perceive I “have to” do.
The default perspective of “have to” creates a subconscious burden, a sense of obligation. Do you have to pick your kids up from school today, or do you get to do so? Consider how you get to interact with them on the drive home, how you get to be there for them and listen to them at the end of their exciting or challenging day. Can you feel the gratitude building?
Word choices have power. They can offer limitation and minimization, or they can uplift, energize, and provide clarity. Your voice is a choice. There are four steps to choosing wisely:
“Practice the Pause” – Pause before you speak, even for a nano-second, to consider…
Your intention – it matters in every interaction. What do you wish to convey, how does your message align with your…
Values – they are your guiding light, your true north. Your values represent who you are, what is in your heart. You can only know if you have struck the alignment you intended if you truly…
Listen – actively, without anticipation, without distraction, with an open mind and heart.
As a leader, your success in 2022 may hinge on getting these steps right. The October 2021 Forbes article, (Ivanova, 2021) overviews various studies that support the impact of communication on retention. The author confirmed that “‘uncertainty’ quickly turned into the buzzword that defined 2020.” Leaders allowed this to happen by way of the words they chose. They offered ambiguity every time words such as “might,” “if,” “pretty sure,” “I think,” “probably,” and the like were uttered.
In February of 2021, I was interviewed by Fast Company Magazine, and they produced an article titled, 10 Words and Phrases to Stop Saying in 2021. These words and phrases were on the list: if, but, pretty, I think, just, enough, might, there's nothing we can do about it, you don't understand, and should or have to. In certain contexts, these words and phrases are limiting and likely not tied to what you value or what you intend to convey.
You cannot unsee the list, and you cannot eliminate all the words that are misrepresenting you at once. Listen to yourself first, determine which words are holding you back. A new year is upon us, and you get to choose the improvements you will make in 2022. Will you choose a path of clarity and conviction? Will it lead you and those you serve to a place of joy and fill you with gratitude and hope? You get to choose.
Ivanova, S. (2021, October 14). The ‘Great Resignation’ And The Role Of Communications In Retaining Employees. Retrieved from Forbes: https://www.forbes.com/
Learn more at Thriving Leader Collaborative or ShortGroup.net where The Words We Choose: Your Guide to How and Why Words Matter is sold. Related Words Matter Courses are 50% off through January 31st with the code wordsmatter2022 (access learning site through shortgroup.net)