Who Needs Problems? 4 Wins to Weighing Words

by Connie

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Are there certain words you’d like to eliminate from your vocabulary?

Are there words you should remove from your personal glossary?

No, I’m not talking about words you’d use after slamming your fingers in a door or language that should embarrass you if used in the presence of elders.

I’m talking about words that hold you back, words that limit you and predict failure. You probably haven’t thought how much an energy-drain parts of your language can be.

This negativity subtly infiltrates all aspects of your thinking and therefore all areas of your Life.

I’m referring to fear-filled, powerful and power-filled words like:

  • Can’t, as in ‘I can’t do that…’
  • Shouldn’t, as in ‘I shouldn’t be taking ‘me’ time…
  • Won’t, as in ‘I know I won’t like that…’
  • Couldn’t, as in ‘I couldn’t ask for help…’
  • Insert your ‘word nemeses’ here

I Need to Report a Crime…

These words steal from you.

Subconsciously, but with your permission, these words embezzle your power.

While using these words, you’re condoning the crime.

You’re giving up your personal power and nodding your head in approval while they rob you of bits of your strength.

I’ve got to ask you, ‘What’s up with that?’

If a stranger took something from you, you’d do something to get it back, right? So what are you willing to do to re-gain your muscle?

Are you going to throw your hands in the air and say, ‘There’s nothing I can do. That’s just how I talk.’ Or, ‘How can I stop saying, can’t? I wouldn’t know how to begin to do that.’

Sorry, but you’ve got my B.S. meter pegged. Those excuses don’t fly with me.

Not at all and here’s why….

Who Needs Problems?

Years ago I made a conscious decision to eliminate the word, problem, from my lexicon. I figured it wasn’t doing me any real favors, after all.

Whenever I said or thought of the word problem all it brought to mind was feeling overwhelmed, defeated or being in a stress-induced state of constant worry.

Who needs more of that in their life? Certainly not me…

I became pro-active. I no longer recognized the word, problem. I banished it from my vocabulary.

I refused to use it while conversing or writing. I chose to get rid of that word and all the thoughts and emotions it evoked in me.

  • I ran into hitches, snags and obstacles.
  • I faced quandaries, road-blocks and sticky-wickets, (because it’s just so darn fun to say.)
  • There were puzzlements, opportunities and challenges, but no, no problems, thank you, very much.

I shared the news with my friends. They thought it was a little strange, but nothing that warranted a doctor’s attention.

As a business owner, I brought my team together and told them that word was no longer allowed in the work place, during work hours.

Yes, initially, they thought I was joking.

When they slipped up or said the p-word to test me, I’d call them out on it. ‘Wh-wha-what did you just say? No, sorry, we don’t have those here anymore.’ I’d say with a forgiving smile.

Yes, when they realized I was serious, they thought I’d lost my mind. I caught sideways glances between staff, until they acclimated to my active mindset change.

The Unexpected Benefits

Did all the challenges in my life magically go away, when I banned that one word?

No. Not at all…

My life, at the time, was filled with continual waves of challenges. (Thankfully, my days of living in constant chaos are forever in my past. I choose to live an active, yet serene Life.)

I was still married to Peter Pan; a little boy disguised in adult clothes. He devoured money as if it were bags of potato chips and he rarely showed up to work our multiple businesses, which caused major financial stress and constant unpredictability in our business and personal lives.

No, no, none of that had changed.

There were, however; unanticipated shifts in my Life, and in the lives of my friends and team, as a result of this course of action.

I suspect you’d experience similar results if you tried this yourself, with a word that drains you of your power.

Here are four of the ‘Wins!’ you’ll uncover using this process:

  1. You’ll become more mindful. Tossing words around without giving thought to the weight or messages they carry can be harmful. When you replace an unwelcome word with a more desirable one, you become more mindful of your language. This will have a trickle-down effect and you’ll become more attentive to other choices which enhance your Life.
  1. You’ll become more creative. Once you choose to eliminate a word from your vocabulary, you’ve committed to thinking of new ways of getting your point across. One team member made up the word, ‘frigging-fragging-frag-oh-staph’ to replace the p-word in his conversations. Unconventional? Yes. Expressive? Yes. Did we all understand what he meant? Undoubtedly.
  1. You’ll become more positive. I didn’t substitute one power-plucking word for another. I didn’t delete problem from my vocabulary only to replace it with crisis, trouble or disaster. What’s the point in that? Choose replacement words that minimize the negative. This will lessen the emotional impact by taking the punch out of the word.
  1. You’ll laugh more. Whether you share this process with others or not, catching yourself when you use the illicit word will bring a smile to your face. We laughed when one of us would start to use a banned word. The wrongdoer caught themselves mid-sentence or a listener sounded a verbal buzzer citing the foul. Laughter ensued as the speaker scrambled for a more positive word to use. Trust me; it’s hard not to laugh while someone uses a word like, ‘frigging-fragging-frag-oh-staph’.

Are You Talking to Me?

There’s a woman in my power yoga class, named Barrie. She’s a beginner and usually sets up next to me for our practices.

It doesn’t matter if Tricia, our beloved yoga instructor, gives us an easy move or a demanding sequence; Barrie’s reaction is always the same…‘Oh, I can’t!’

Before even trying, before her first attempt, she automatically emits ‘I can’t!’ as naturally as she exhales.

It’s a self-defeating, negative message.

It’s unsupportive and unhelpful.

Her mind is programming her body, setting her up to fail, making this message detrimental.

I encourage her to try. I gently remind her that if she believes she can’t, then she’s right.

I cheer her on telling her as she tries, ‘I guess you really showed, can’t, didn’t you?’

Who needs to hear more self-flagellating, toxic and obstructive messages in their lives? The empowering answer is, ‘None of us do!’ So, let’s stop it, with the negative self-talk already!

This is about taking personal responsibility for the messages you are downloading from your brain into every cell of your being. Make well-thought out choices. Be aware and live mindfully.

The upshot of this small alteration continues to have profoundly positive effects.

Ten years after actively making this choice I can proudly say I continue to live problem-free!

So, how about you? What energy-draining words are in your vocabulary? Isn’t it time you empowered yourself and evicted them?

Email me, using the form below, to let me know what word is depleting you. If you’ve already made a change similar to this, what changes have you experienced? I’d love to hear your story…

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

pea August 15, 2011 at 1:41 pm

I enjoyed this post and have always been interested in the power of words. I’m interested in the sentence ‘I need to report a crime’. How is this dis-empowering?

Reply

Connie August 21, 2011 at 8:53 pm

Hi, Pea,

Thanks for taking the time to write.

The line you refer to in the post was used as a sub-heading.

It was meant to grab your attention and to emphasis the fact that using certain words steal your power from you.

None of us need that in our lives, right?

I hope you continue to enjoy my posts. Please share word of the site with your friends and family.

Connie

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Lori December 23, 2011 at 10:35 am

Wonderfully expressed! The media control our internal responses the same way, mainly to elicit preemptive fear.

Like Pea, I also wondered how your sub-heading is harmful. We’re just confused because it sounds like you’re speaking specifically of it in the next sentence rather than the other words previously referenced.

Thanks for your empowering post!
You might also like Lori\’s recent post..Where’s the Proof?My Profile

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Connie January 1, 2012 at 4:25 pm

Hi, Lori,

Thank you for sharing your thoughts on my post. I greatly appreciate you being here.

I whole-heartedly agree that all media try to inflict a simmering fear within us…If we allow it.

Personally, I don’t watch the news because there’s so much sensationalism and negativity. I’m not going to invite that into my Life.

Both you and Pea reference the sub-title, ‘I’d like to report a crime.’ My thought when I wrote that sentence was that having to say that to an emergency dispatcher indicates that you’ve been victimized, in some way.

The point I’m trying to convey in this post is that you can choose to be a victim or you can choose to be a victor, based upon the words you use. The choice is yours.

Thanks for challenging me, Lori. It keeps me on my toes and helps me think through the choices I make. :~)

Connie

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Steve Sponsler January 26, 2012 at 2:40 am

Hi,
Sometimes, instead of saying “Problem” I can replace it with ‘Solution”…this invokes an immediate chain reaction to resolve the solution rather than to solve a problem. Double positive. Sometimes it reveals something about myself. For instance, “I have a problem with Jack’s clothes”…vs..”I have a solution for Jack’s clothes, but..hey…it’s none of my business so why let it bother me. He doesn’t care, why should I?”. Case closed. It might not always work this but, “I have a problem with this year’s income tax”..vs “I have a solution to this year’s income taxes”..implies right up front that whatever it is can be accomplished if I just settle down. It does not mean I will necessarily like the solution..but it does head me in the right direction from the starting gates.
You might also like Steve Sponsler\’s recent post.."Cold Front" Sliding Slowly Through Florida Today – Not a Big Change MakerMy Profile

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Connie January 31, 2012 at 6:09 pm

Hi, Steve,

Since my personal default setting is to find the positive, I really like your use of invoking what you call a ‘double positive’ by ‘resolving a solution’. How very creative of you!

I’ve checked out your site. Storm chasing sounds like a blast! My husband’s always pointing out how I’m running towards the storm or the picture window during a storm to watch the majesty, power and beauty of Mother Nature at her best. I can live vicariously through you. :~)

Stay safe out there, Steve!

Connie

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