Whether it’s your inside or outside voice, what you say to yourself and others deserves considerable thought.
As someone who occasionally opens his mouth before it’s connected to his brain, I can vouch for the challenges that can cause.
A fellow executive coach whom I respect recently said something interesting to me. He was on a mission to eradicate “no” language from the executives he coached, such as, “That doesn’t work,” “I’m not good at that,” “That’s not possible,” “We can’t raise prices” or “I can’t” and replace it with something such as, “In the past ….” Do you see the difference?
“In the past, I wasn’t courageous enough to try that,” is much different than saying, “That won’t work.” “In the past, I avoided tough conversations” is much different than, “I’m not good at conflict.”
I bet you frequently make three negative statements that prevent you from getting to the next level — whatever that may be for you. (There are more than three, but three is a good place to start!)
This activity can help you identify them: Over the next week, develop a consciousness around those situations where you feel defensive, angry or confused, and write them down. At the end of the week, look at them and identify the underlying thought (words) that created the situation. Then flip it and identify what the opposing thought is. Is it possible that this thought might be more correct or at least partially correct?
You might flip, “I’m not good at conflict,” to “I’m not experienced at these situations” or “In the past, I avoided these situations.” The next steps are much different based on what your words are. If you say, “I’m not good at _______,” the logical thing might be to avoid it in the future. If you say, “I’m not experienced at _______,” the next step might be to gain some understanding and experience.
Life throws many challenges in our path. There’s no need to create them on our own!
coaches CEOs to higher levels of success. He is a former CEO and has led teams as large as 7,000 people. Todd is the author of, Never Kick a Cow Chip On A Hot Day: Real Lessons for Real CEOs and Those Who Want To Be (Morgan James Publishing).