Episode 13 Deliberate Language Shapes Reality

January 30, 2023

Well, I’ve got so much to say this morning I’m not quite sure where to start. Let’s start with this. One of the most delightful things that has come out of Dear Constance for me is to see who comes out of the woodwork.  It’s been really fun for me because I’ve been missing a platform to reach out to people and to interact, since I closed my business. I left the business of recruiting where of course everybody takes your call and wants to be in touch because you’re the potential conduit to something great.  After that, my work was a lot related to the nonprofit world. But between leaving my business and the Covid years, I’ve been a little isolated and it’s been nice to re-engage.

Today I want to talk about someone I met with for lunch yesterday. They had reached out aftering listening to an episode of Dear Constance which resonated.  This morning I was reflecting on how great the conversation was, how great it was to be candid and real with someone. Also knowing that I engender trust and that this person values my insight and opinion is gratifying to me.

Anyway, there was a lot of substance in the conversation, and I was reflecting this morning. Many of the takeaways from that conversation are things that I’ve been saying on Dear Constance, but let me start with a new one. This person started the conversation by telling me that they wanted to get my take on something but that it was already basically a done deal.  It made me think of something my friend Eric taught me many years ago. He said, ‘when someone comes out and shows you something that they bought and asks your opinion, you have only one answer. It’s beautiful. They don’t really want your opinion. They want to share their excitement about something that they’ve just bought’, and that can go from a coat to a house. The decision has already been made. The purchase has been made and your job is to say something nice. That’s a page I took from Eric’s book and it’s been really helpful.

So back to my lunch yesterday. This person started the conversation by saying, I’ve already taken a decision. Basically, it’s 90% done. Yet he was giving me permission to really speak my mind and to be very transparent. In the coaching field, one of the first things you learn is to ask permission. You don’t just tell people what you think or offer your opinion. You ask permission.  He had given me permission to speak my mind and to give him my honest opinion. But somewhere in the back of my mind was also this idea that he had already made the decision, so I wanted to gauge my words and what I focused on.

The details of this particular conversation aren’t important but here’s what is. In my opinion one of the issues was ‘I have a great job title, but I don’t have the full scope of responsibility that I’m accustomed to. Might this harm me in the future in terms of my job prospects?’  And the answer to that was clear to me. It’s all how you frame it. It’s all how you talk about what you do and how you got to your decision (to take the position). This is something that came up over and over when I was interviewing people in Executive Search. A lot of what other people think is how you frame things. The importance you attribute. How you speak to your decision-making process. What you garnered from the experience. You control the narrative with your language.

The next thing that came out of this conversation for me was what I call AI. Awareness and intentionality – that’s the secret sauce.  So in this case, we were talking about the fact that this person is fully aware of what they’re getting themselves into. It will be challenging, but his intentionality around what he’s trying to accomplish in taking the role and in accepting the challenge really needs to be front and center in how he speaks to it.  The language he uses is going to attract the same.  Let me see if I can state that differently. What he focuses on about the opportunity is what he’s going to see more of and what he’s going to attract.  If he goes into the position focused on what the role doesn’t have or how it falls short of his past jobs, he’s most likely to attract that type of criticism and that type of awareness from others.  I guess another way of saying this would be this: being deliberate with your intention and the language you use to describe why you’re doing something really does affect the kind of energy you attract, the way you carry yourself, and the confidence that you give off. This all goes back to what I was saying in past episodes about negative questioning and casting doubt. I guess the net net is what you put out there is what is reflected back to you.

Let me tie this back briefly to Dear Constance. For some time, I have been shooting myself in the foot and not getting started on things that are near and dear to my heart because they weren’t quite right. I didn’t have that perfect strategic plan, nor the clarity I felt was necessary to get started.  So I didn’t start anything.  Through my own process, I realized that I needed to be willing to start with a beginner’s mind. I needed to be willing to fumble and fail forward, and to frame that as part of the fun and part of the challenge and how I was intending to spread my creative wings. It all came back to how I speak to this. Instead of focusing on explaining what I’m trying to do, why I am doing it, and the negative questions that were running through my mind, I was more deliberate in the language I used. I want to be authentic. I want to use my voice. I want to try new things. I want to expose myself to new people. And what happened? A lot of people responded to that in a really positive way. I got some really beautiful messages, many of which are clues to the fact that all of us have things we’d like to try. All of us are tasked with overcoming doubt and negative self-talk, and it really comes down to how you frame it. You set the tone for how people respond. You get to decide how to measure success, and those goalposts change and evolve over time.

One of the great things with Dear Constance is the messages I receive. I have received so many messages about one particular question I asked, Two, actually, The two questions were this. What would love have me do today? And I got so many great messages that started with ‘ Today, love would have me …. and then they would finish the message. And the other question was, what’s the kind thing to do for myself today? That really seemed to land with people.  Now that I have, about 15 episodes under my belt and I’ve taught myself some of the mechanics, things will change here. For example, I didn’t get anybody’s name or contact information, so I can’t push out notifications about the episodes. And I don’t have a real feed feedback mechanism for people to call in or write in or ask me questions.  I’ll get there. In the meantime, I’m just really proud of myself that I got started, that I’ve reconnected with old friends, and that I gave myself permission to start without a big strategic plan.

I ruled in a passion project and ruled out all of that negative self-talk. So thank you for listening in. It means a lot to me that you’re here. If you’re enjoying this content, help me spread the word. That’s my ask for now. I hope you all have a good day.  That’s all for now, from my heart to yours.

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dear Listeners,

Friends say I live my life out loud. That’s because I’m a curious, adventurous person and, as an appreciator, I simply love to share what lights me up. Consider this is your invitation into my fun, multi-faceted world.

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