As you celebrate our nation’s birthday, I invite you think about the way words are the building blocks of our government, culture, and communities. The Declaration of Independence, United States Constitution, Bill of Rights, Declaration of Sentiments and even Miranda Rights all put a particular set of values and ideas into language that determine the way our world works. We do the same thing each time we engage with one another, whether in business writing, casual conversation, or protest. Our word choice is one of the many ways we are continually re-negotiating the rules by which we play and the goals to which we aspire.
Every time we say a sincere “thank you,” or refuse to respond to one another, or endeavor to shout down a dissenting opinion, we are affirming or denying the status quo. The words you use, the way you listen (or don’t), and the way you conduct yourself everyday establishes the world in which you live.
We each have the capacity to introduce new ways of being to our spheres of influence. Change your response and you change the system. Maintain your familiar, comfortable dialogue and the system stays the same.
If you live in an environment that values open dialogue, you’ll likely learn more about those in your world. You’ll have a greater level of understanding of the successes and struggles of those around you. Far from being a “soft” or “weak” position, empathy is an incredibly powerful tool with which we can improve our experiences at work and in the world.
For many, celebrating today will be about liberty, independence, fireworks, and bratwurst. Pause for a moment and think a little deeper about how your own words and actions contribute to or distract from your ideals. Your words make a difference. They matter. Use them wisely.
Talk to you next week,
P.S. Your words are one of the most powerful ways you can establish yourself as a leader. Registration is now open for our six-week online program, The Language of Leadership. Join us to learn how to use your words to increase your worth and navigate the landscape at work to break through to the next level in your career.
P.S. P.S. If your Fourth of July includes a political element, please take a minute to check out this blog on Neutralizing the Negative to help center your passionate ideals in respect and personal accountability.