Early in my work career, I had a boss who cautioned me that I had a tendency to be a little too “ready, fire, aim” at times. It was darn good advice. I’ve worked hard over the last umpteen years to mind that tendency and admit it is a work-in-progress. Where I can get myself in trouble most is with my mouth. I don’t always take that extra second (highly recommended, I might add) to choose my words carefully before hitting the oral launch button. This year, in my continued quest to define the better “me” and use 2013 to the fullest, another goal I’ve identified in need of being added to my burgeoning list is the goal of choosing my words wisely.
Words have power and our stories have meaning to all of us. No one can argue that. But as I reflect back on the situations where I’ve made the most impact on situations and others, I can sometimes see times and places where I’d definitely like a “re-do.” Words, once they leave our mouth, cannot be taken back. Once spoken, they are off and on their way to set a world of action into motion. How much time do you take to choose your words?
“Whatever words we utter should be chosen with care for people will hear them and be influenced by them for good or ill.” –Buddha
Like an arrow, a well-chosen word can hit the target and nail the intended message dead-on. But words, like arrows, can pierce and be painful. There is a fine art to choosing words well and making sure that the message you intend to send is indeed the one received. How, when and where we all speak have a tremendous impact on not only how we are perceived, but how we make others feel.
And it isn’t just about knowing what to say, it is sometimes knowing when to say nothing at all. Knowing when it isn’t the right time to offer your own personal story to add color to someone’s else’s situation…they need the floor and they need you to just listen. Yep, L-I-S-T-E-N. (It’s that two ears / one mouth ratio thing I have to work extra hard to keep in balance.) It is also about making sure that the words we use in our writing — which will long outlast us — truly convey what we want to say. Emails, Facebook posts, Tweets, etc., all can be blasted around the globe in a nanosecond; make sure you are thinking twice before you commit anything to the digital word.
“Speech is the mirror of the soul; as a man speaks, so is he.” – Publilius Syrus
Words are powerful, indeed. Choose a bland, mediocre word and you get ho-hum results. Choose powerful, inspiring words and the results can be simply amazing. Don’t believe me? Take a watch and be inspired…