A friend posted this little message on FB today and I have not been able to shake the thought all day long. I wish that we all understood the power of language - the words we choose to use when we talk about ourselves. I have to share several examples I have from coaching where I was able to catch people saying things about themselves that I didn't believe were true, but they did and so ... they were showing up as what they said ... until I got them to agree to stop saying those things about themselves. The words we use to describe ourselves (in our head and out loud) convince us how we should show up in the world ... in a sense we are predicting how we show up and so ... we do.
- I'm lazy
- I'm a procrastinator
- I'm a terrible friend
- I'm a whiner
- I'm overwhelmed
- I'm slow
- I'm a slob
- I'm disorganized
- I'm stupid
- I'm tired
- I'm always late
- I'm bored
- I'm boring
Let's first look at the language ... you are NOT these things, you may be disorganized from time to time, or you may be uninterested in some things, or you may be slower than some really fast people, or you may not win the high IQ contest, or you may have so much to do that you do not know where to start, but all of those things are very different than saying I AM ...
When I am in a coaching relationship with someone and they start to use I AM language, I put on the brakes right away. We figure out a way to describe the behavior(s) they are exhibiting. This helps them see that you can feel tired and that sends a different message to our system than I am tired. If you ARE something, it's hard to break the cycle psychologically, but if you are simply behaving in some way, that can be changed and it feels possible.
If you want to send a message to your system that really convinces it of something, then use a positive image. I am strong. I am healthy. I am smart. I am interesting. I am a good listener. Just as I said that you will see what you look for, you will show up in the world as you believe you are.
This isn't an easy habit to break and there are great benefits to saying "I AM" --- it gives you a great excuse not to change. How can you change who you are? That may sound silly to you, yet I promise that I have seen this work over and over again in my own life and in the lives of coaching clients.
My challenge for you this week has TWO parts ...
1) What is some way you want to see yourself? Something positive? Start saying you ARE that (I am a healthy eater, e.g.) and notice what happens
2) What is something you say about yourself in the negative (I am overwhelmed, e.g.)? Notice it and then STOP saying it. Do not let the negative words you use have power over how you show up in the world.
WORDS ARE VERY POWERFUL, EVEN WHEN THEY DON'T ESCAPE YOUR LIPS - LET'S BE MORE THOUGHTFUL ABOUT WHAT WE SAY ABOUT OURSELVES STARTING TODAY!
Please share your comments on this one; I will be anxious to hear what you notice happens as you try to change the language in your head and the impact it has on your behaviors.