By Michelle Porchia
I've written several articles and taught many workshops on the power of words. I've said words paint pictures and we need to think about what picture we are painting in our own mind and the minds of others.
At work we need to set clear expectations and make sure that people understand what is expected of them. Clarity of understanding, expectations, and meaning is key to positive conversation and productivity. Clear expectations are not just about work but also about home and school. People usually want to know: What am I to do? What is expected of me? What will be the consequences? And most importantly, people want to feel acknowledged and appreciated.
Recently I watched a segment on "What Would You Do?" An employee with Down syndrome is bagging and the scenario is a man and then a woman (both actors) are complaining about him being slow (speed wise) but then they start calling him slow (mentally), retarded, "these people", etc. Words hurt. Many words have taken on negative and hurtful meanings. There are debates on what words meant in the past and what those words mean now. People in the store stood up for the employee and called the "actors" out about what they were saying about the employee.
Bottom line: We need to look at the content of our speech, the intent of our message, know our audience, and the delivery of message. My mother used to say, "It's not just what you say, it's how you say it." And I will add, "What is your body saying?" If I have a screaming face, though my words may be appropriate, my face may be adding emphasis to what I'm saying.
There is a huge discussion on the use of certain words in the press right now (I won't go into detail as it is political and I would need a lot more space to cover it). The point is, the use or not use of certain words and phrases has set off a major firestorm, has hurt many people, and has caused polarization, losing the true issue.
I think the quote below by Gerry Spence encourages us to remember that we are all people, individuals. We have feelings. We get hurt. We love. We have goals. We often are products of our environments. Yet, we are people. I think this point has gotten lost in so many areas...in our streets, communities, businesses, places of worship, and the media.
"We are not our profession, our bank accounts, our status in life. We are people first." Gerry Spence
People first. Words are powerful. They can lift up or tear down. They can help or hurt. They can encourage or discourage. You have a choice. Choose wisely!
By Debra W. Gould, MS
Words have power. They can be used to create or destroy. Used without thinking, they can stir unwanted reactions. However, when words are spoken with purpose and precision they pave the way for your dreams to become real.
So, what are your dreams? What is most important to you? If you could create or experience anything, what would it be? Is it freedom? Happiness? Fulfilling work that produces prosperity? Do you crave intimacy, a powerful partnership, genuine love or all of the above? Do you want to resolve a persistent problem? Or perhaps stop settling for less? Consider: What do you really want? Are you inspired to be healthy and fit? Do you wish to evolve into a wiser and more loving parent? Are you motivated to build a legacy? Travel? Explore? Make a difference?
Words matter because they materialize as matter. Words can transform challenges into opportunities. They can be used to gather information and clarify meaning, which open lines of communication allowing you to understand another’s point of view.
And it’s not just the words you speak, it’s the intent fueling your words, and the way you frame the language you choose that will determine whether you elicit resistance or accord.
What do you say after the words I Am? The words you choose influence how you see yourself, how others see you and what is possible for you. Do you say things that disempower or empower you? Do you say, “I’m stressed, I’m bored, I’m tired, I’m broke, I’m alone?” Or, “I am centered. I am inspired. I am focused. I am clear. I am ready. I am grateful.”
When you use the words I Am, you invoke your power to create. These words are potent! Be aware of what you link them to. The thing you are claiming has a way of reaching back and claiming you.
Debra W. Gould, MS is the president of Debra Gould & Associates, Inc. based in New Orleans and provides management consulting and training services to commercial and government clients. Debra is one of the founders of The Ebony Speakers and co-author of the book, Real Women, Real Issues - Positive Collaborations For Business Success. Debra can be reached at: (504) 244-6576,
email: firstname.lastname@example.org and
by Carole Copeland Thomas
Sometimes you just need a little inspiration. Described as a blue eyed soul sister, Rev. Katherine Brooks, a Harvard educated pastor and theologian of the African Methodist Episcopal Church delivered a spellbinding message entitled "Shine" at the Missionary Annual Day Service at Grant AME Church in Boston. Trained by Rev. Alvan Johnson (in the background of the video clip), she masterfully weaves the purpose of a lighthouse into the duties of missionaries, with rousing choruses of "Amen" shouted by the congregation.
Enjoy this short clip...and Let The Church Say Amen!!
By Nancy J. Lewis, MS, PHR, RCC
In this fast paced, ever changing world where we must learn to do more with less, we must be grounded in who we are. To cope with the changing world of work, diverse customers and employees, the generational divide, rightsizing, downsizing, whatever the term used, we must have a strong sense of self.
Developing a better you requires recognizing that everything begins from within. We must remind ourselves of the unique gifts we possess that make us special. Too often, we focus on our failures and forget the successes we have had in life. Our failures help us grow because they challenge us to find a way to persevere until the victory is won. Our successes propel us forward to continue to run the race before us because we have what it takes to succeed.
1. Believe in yourself.
You must know that you are unique and decide to validate yourself. You must have positive self-talk and recognize that failure is not final, merely a steppingstone to greatness. Commit to measuring yourself with yourself and not someone else. I once read you can be a first rate you or a second rate somebody else. Affirm today, I am confident, courageous, and capable.
2. Surround yourself with positive people.
People with negative attitudes are energy draining and when your energy is zapped, you have to go and get recharged. Is it always easy to have positive people around? Absolutely not! We must continue to help others by suggesting sources of inspiration such as self-help books, motivational tapes, and spiritual literature. Then we must challenge individuals to be willing to take charge of their life and the things they can change. Often, you will find yourself spending less time with persons because you can see they really do not want to change. These negative people are often dream busters and if you let them, they will chatter your dreams. Be careful who you share your dreams with and do what you must do for yourself to remain focused and positive. Each you must decide to embrace life with an attitude of gratitude. Affirm today, I will focus on the positive things in life.
3. Visualize success.
In order to visualize success, you must see your dreams and goals with clarity and have a plan. Steven Covey states you must begin with the end in mind. The Bible states where there is no vision the people perish. Is it so important to have a blueprint to guide and direct your path as you work towards achieving your dreams and goals in life. Commit to developing a plan for the dreams and goals you have set for yourself in your personal and professional life. Affirm today, I will take one positive action that will lead me one step closer to reaching my goals.
4. Welcome and embrace change.
How many of you love change? Most of us resist change because of uncertainty and the risks it brings. The only constant in life is that things will change. Our ability to cope with change will help us reduce the stress change often brings. Many of us our currently facing some form of change in our lives, empty nesters, taking care of aging parents, family crisis, jobs being downsized or eliminated, mergers and acquisitions and the list goes on and on. It is vital we find ways to embrace and welcome changes that will take place on our personal and professional lives. Change allows us the opportunity to expand our boundaries and grow. Affirm today, I will welcome and embrace change.
5. Celebrate successes everyday in your life.
When you achieve a major milestone in your life, how do you reward yourself? Start a happy file, smile file, or success journal today. When someone sends you a note, an e-mail message, or a letter that lets you know they appreciate you, put it in that file. Start to focus on the nice things people say and do for you and help them begin their happy file by sharing with them in written form, a note of appreciation. When you start recognizing the successes and strengths of others, it is amazing how much more people start to recognize yours. What you send out to others returns to you. Begin the habit of rewarding yourself for the milestones that move you closer to your goals. These milestones may be big or small. It really doesn’t matter the size only that you recognize them. The important thing is to celebrate because small successes lead to big successes. Affirm today, I will start my happy file.
6. Love Yourself.
What kind of self-talk goes on in your head? What do you say about yourself to others? Learn how to look in the mirror and declare that you love the reflection you see. There is no one else like you in the universe. You are special and always remember that. Love you for the wonderful person you are. Affirm today, I value and love myself.
7. Maintain a winning attitude about life.
Life may not always deal you the hand you want, but learn how to play the hand you are dealt with a winning disposition. Maintaining a winning attitude means that when challenges come, you recognize there is a miracle in your struggle. When you are able to maintain a winning attitude about life, you draw people and circumstances that will be a blessing to you. In life nothing happens by chance, everything is divinely orchestrated. So go forward and keep your winning attitude about life and watch your garden of greatness grow. Affirm today, I will maintain a winning attitude about life.
Nancy J. Lewis is the president of Progressive Techniques, Inc. based in Fayetteville, Georgia where the theme of her company is
“Developing a Better YOU."
Nancy can be reached at (770) 964-5533 or email: email@example.com or website: www.progressivetechniquesinc.com.
Your Comments Are Welcome.
by Michelle Porchia
During the month of August many people will be traveling around the world, across the U.S. or participating in "staycations." Whatever the case may be, keep in mind the power of words. This video demonstrates it powerfully. The Power of Words Whether we're only engaging in self talk or speaking to others, always remember that words paint pictures.
On a lighter note, don't forget that words have different meanings in different regions. For example, "pop" in the Midwest is what "soda" is called in the Northeast. "Coke" down South tends to mean "soda" and you have to specify what type you want. Ask for a frappe in Michigan and you will get a very confused look (ask for a milkshake instead). So keep in mind when you use a word, depending upon where you are, it can have a very different meaning.
Words paint pictures. Whether it's on vacation, at home or at work, let's be clear on the words we are using and the pictures we are painting.
Your comments are welcome.
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