Your words make a difference

When was the last time you seriously thought about the words you use each and every day? How carefully do you select them?

         Now, you might be thinking, “Alfonso, why all this fuss about words? What’s the big deal? The answer is simple. Many times your words have much more power than what you can imagine. They can build a bright future, destroy opportunities or help maintain the status quo. Your words reinforce your beliefs, and your beliefs create your reality and contribute to project success.

         Think of this process as a row of dominos that looks like this: Thoughts – Words – Beliefs – Actions – Results. 

         Here is how it works. Henry has a thought, such as I am not very good when it comes to project sales. Now, let’s remember that he does not have this thought only once. Oh, no. He runs it through his mind on a regular basis, maybe hundreds or thousands of times in his life.

         Then, Henry starts to use words that support this thought. He says to his friends and project management colleagues, “I am never going to do very well in sales” or “I just hate making sales calls or approaching prospects”. Here again, Henry repeats these phrases over and over…in his self-talk and in his discussions with others.

         This, in turn, strengthens his beliefs and it is at this stage where the rubber really meets the road. You see, everything that you will achieve in your life flows from your beliefs. So, in the sales example, Henry develops the belief that he is not going to be successful in project sales. This becomes embedded in his subconscious mind.

         What can possibly flow from that belief? Because Henry does not believe in his project sales ability, he takes very little action, or he takes actions that are not productive or not effective. He does not do the things that would be necessary to succeed in project sales.

         And then, quite predictably, Henry gets very poor results. To make matters worse, Henry then starts to think more negative thoughts, repeat more negative words, reinforce negative beliefs and get even more negative results. It is a vicious cycle.

         Of course, this whole process could have had a very happy ending if Henry had selected positive thoughts and reinforced them with positive words. In turn, he would reinforce the belief that he is successful in sales. As a result, Henry would take actions consistent with that belief and wind up with outstanding results.

Selecting the right words        

Do not underestimate the role of your words in this process. Professionals who feed themselves a steady diet of negative words are destined to have a negative attitude. It is a simple matter of cause and effect. You can not keep repeating negative words and expect to be a high achiever. And that is because negative words will always lead to the reinforcement of negative beliefs and eventually to negative outcomes.

         We usually repeat to ourselves things like, “I am not good at delivering presentations”, “I am not good at talking to upper managers”, and “I am not very good at managing project costs”.  And, after many years of using negative words, you develop a strong belief that you can not do these things.

         Do you see how you create this situation by not being careful about the words you use? And, the truth is, you could eventually reverse this trend if you start using positive words about your ability to make repairs. This behavior depends on the motivational values of every professional. However, I have observed that many professionals are very negative by nature. If you belong to that group of professionals, now is the moment to wake up and be conscious about the words you are using in your projects, with your people, with your customers, and with your managers. If you are a positive person, congratulations and welcome to the team, “Today is a Good Day!” If you are not yet a member, you have the choice to change your attitude, and then TOMORROW WILL BE BETTER!


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