“Words are the vehicle for change and inspiration, they allow the brightest minds on Earth to free themselves of the chains in their minds. Words turn dreams and visions into reality, they give life to all that remains hidden and kept away”.
– Luis R Valadez
As I do the Comeback Girl podcast (five in the can now, big PHEW) I am thinking so much about the language we use as it comes up as a “thing” in interviews. I see our language having an effect in two ways: one in what we tell ourselves, and the other in how we talk to our world. The latter can influence those around us and a wider conversation. In this post I want to explore our self-talk.
My last three podcast guests have spoken about the power of the words that they have used to shape their reality and challenge limiting beliefs.
Find Evidence Against the Limiting Words You Speak to Yourself
Liz Ward from Slick Pivot (coaching), airing next week, shared that she was starting to tell herself “I am not a copywriter”. This despite the fact that at 28 she was managing the TV campaigns for O2 and therefore, a fairly capable communicator.
Her advice: Look back in your life to where you didn’t hold that truth and “find the evidence against it”. For Liz, she reflected that she had written emails, she got through an English degree therefore, she could write copy. She recommends “look at your dialogue”. “If you say you are going to burn the toast, you will burn the toast”. I love that she breaks it down so simply for us with her wonderful Yorkshire accent. Here’s a taste of Liz in action:
Find Powerful Words and Quotes that Motivate
Patsy Richardson, former senior global strategist for Cadbury and kidney transplant/brain surgery survivor spoke of her self-talk in her recovery. She recommends that we hold onto powerful words. She loved the fighting talk of Churchill quotes “you’ll never get to your destination to stop at every dog that barks along the way”.
Choose Good Language and Self-Talk
I met with Naomi Oluleye yesterday. This little powerhouse threw in her international brand management job for an international PR firm , is now self-employed and runs the Power of Quitting events in New York, London and Berlin. She has stellar panels speakers talk about how they made the bold move from a big job to pursuing their passions as either freelancers or in completely different fields.
One of her “secret sauce success tips” from the panels was how they talked to themselves. It was vital to choose good language and self-talk in order to make bold change “I know for myself how I set up the day in words determines how that day is going to go”. This is something her life coach taught Naomi as well and she swears by it.
Just look at Instagram, many accounts are powered by success or motivational quotes so we love the shot in the arm of positive language.
Tell Yourself a New Thing
In our careers and the careers we dream of this is vital. I once had an appraisal where my presentation style was described as “delightfully scatty”. I have therefore chosen to believe for a good 15 years that I am totally inarticulate. I have shied away from speaking in public and putting myself forward more in meetings. Knowing that now, I am challenging myself with my different media platforms and the podcast. I am telling myself that
I challenged myself recently to present in front of a global practice of sixty people. I could barely sit with the nerves beforehand, but know I know I can do it. Those words above come from a colleague giving me feedback after that meeting.
Think about it the things we say: “My weight is out of control”. “I’ll never get through this”. What favour can this be doing us? Kate Winslet apparently stands in front of the mirror with her daughter, affirm their body shapes. She told the Huffington Post ‘We are so lucky we have a shape. We’re so lucky we’re curvy. We’re so lucky that we’ve got good bums.’ And her daughter replies: ‘Mummy, I know, thank God.’
Let’s finish with some Reese Witherspoon, because if she taught us the Bend and Snap and gave us Pretty Little Lies she is worth listening to. She shared her self talk with the New York Times: “You’re going to be okay. Better than okay. You’re going to be great. Spend less time tearing yourself apart, worrying if you’re good enough”
Liz Ward’s brilliant podcast debuts next week on the Comeback Girl Soundcloud and iTunes, and Patsy’s and Naomi’s will follow next month.
The Power and Psychology of Words on Our Minds
Lead image: Antonio Litterio