The Power of Your Words
by Abe Brown
I was jolted the other day when I was out for an afternoon walk with my wife and children. As we were walking through the neighbourhood on a bright and beautiful day flooded with sunlight, we passed by a local playground for small children. Strolling along the sidewalk beside the park, it was peaceful to hear the happy sounds of children’s laughter and fun, and so it was a shock when it was interrupted by the shrill pitch of a man yelling, “You’re such a dough-head. You’re always such a dough-head. Come on, let’s go. You’re such a dough-head. You’re always such a dough-head. Come on, let’s go.”
Concerned for the safety of the children present in the park, I slowed our walk so that I could find out what this verbal pollution was all about. It turns out he was yelling at his daughter, who looked to be about five years old, about a doctor’s appointment they were apparently late for. He was trying to get his daughter’s attention so that they could be on time.
Now, I’m not sure exactly what a dough-head is, but based on the level of toxicity and venom in his tone of speech, it can’t be good. When I think about parental affection and empowering our children, the phrase dough-head, along with criticism, anger, blame, and shame… well, they are not in the manual. Parents should empower and nurture us, rather than disempower and cripple us, with their words and tones.
Your words have power. Our words are our greatest tool. Our words are an instrument in our hands, and we can use them with great skill and artfulness to heal those who are wounded, support those who are struggling, guide those who are confused, encourage those who are timid, and inspire those who are apathetic. However, when we use our words with recklessness or ignorance, they can lay heavy burdens, impose significant barriers and obstacles, and disempower and disable completely. The words that we speak not only ring in the ears of those who hear them in the moment, but they echo into eternity in real world terms of self-perceptions, thought processes, choices, behaviours, and all the outcomes that follow. We need to be careful with the words we speak, and the words we hear.
The Power Of Your Words…
Your words are a ripple…
A single word may last but a second, but its impact can ripple for a lifetime. A paragraph can last for a minute, but its impact can echo on into eternity.
Words have power. Words can light a fire in our minds, they can calm a storm in our hearts, they can pull tears from our eyes, and they can inspire energy and passion in our soul. Words can ripple a message of acceptance and affirmation, healing and hope, or they can ripple a message of rejection and exclusion, unforgiveness and judgment. The words we speak, and the words we hear, powerfully ripple and set the course for our lives.
Your words are a seed…
The seeds that we plant become the harvest that we reap. When we want to see how a child will turn out, we simply need to look at the words that are sown (or not sown) as seeds into their lives. When we want to see the outcome of a person we are leading or developing, assess the words that are being shared with them, through us and through others.
Your words are energy…
When we speak, we project energy. It is not just our grammar or sentence composition that makes an impression, or the semantics of our language. It is the energy itself, projected through the vehicle of our spoken words. When Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke, the energy was peaceful revolution and hopeful change. When Winston Churchill spoke, the energy was courage in the face of fear, and defiance in the face of tyranny. When you speak, what energy is projected? What energy flows? The words we speak, and the words we hear, project potent energy.
Your words are programming…
I remember hearing of a life coaching client whose parents consistently told him while he was growing up that there was more brains in the concrete sidewalk in the family backyard than he had in his head. Think about what this did to his self-concept, sense of potential, and ability to navigate obstacles and barriers. Think of the impact this lethal language had on his choice of partner, friends, education, and career.
What programming was installed as an operating system on your hard drive? And what impact did that programming have, in terms of your choices, opportunities, potential, and capacity? From your early formative years, what impact did the words you heard consistently have on the programming of your beliefs, thoughts, and feelings? And as you communicate with others, what programming are you offering them?
Words have power. I remember that day, flooded with light, on a walk with my family. I think often about the impact on a little girl of the words of her father. The words we speak, and the words we hear, have a powerful ripple effect. They act as seeds bearing a harvest, with an energy and vitality of their own. They are programming that conditions beliefs, thoughts, and feelings, ultimately weaving a tapestry of our overall mental and emotional health. Let’s be careful to speak life, and to only allow ourselves to hear words that give life. Our lives depend on it.
Abe Brown, MBA, is the Coach’s Coach, is the CEO of Momentum Coaching (www.momentumcoaching.ca), and the President of the Certified Coaches Federation (www.certifiedcoachesfederation.com). Momentum Coaching has experienced triple digit growth for several years running and the Certified Coaches Federation has trained and certified over 11,500 Life and Executive Coaches in the last eight years. Abe does leadership, business, and executive coaching, and works with profit-based, and non-profit organizations around strategic planning, cultivating fully engaged employees, and facilitating coaching and training programs. He has also worked with several small, medium, and large businesses to accelerate revenue growth and maximize engagement. For more information, see the display ad on page 19 of the 22.4 November/December issue of the WHOLifE Journal.