Be intentional about every word that comes out of your mouth.
Two people can have the very same intention when they talk to someone, but the listener can receive their words in two very different ways. Have you ever opened your mouth to speak, meaning for your words to be taken one way, only to see the impact the moment they were taken completely wrong? I’ve done it. The moment the words left my mouth, I saw their effect, and I realized the person I was speaking with had totally taken them the wrong way, not how I’d intended.
Some of you may be able to think of many of those times, or maybe you’ve been on the receiving end of that same complete and total disconnect with someone in your life—whether it was something said in person or even a rushed email you typed and sent off without taking a moment to consider how it would be received. It happens a lot in relationships: Guys do it, women do, we all do it, and then we find ourselves trying to backtrack and say that wasn’t what we meant to say. Then we’re suddenly stuck in that total disconnect again. I’ve been there and done all of that, saying things I wish I could go back and unsay.
When you speak, and that includes emails, are you aware of how your words are being delivered? This comes down to understanding how you speak to people—your family, friends, kids, and coworkers. What I mean by that is that you need to ask yourself, are you speaking to be heard, to be accepted, or to be agreed with? Then there’s speaking with clarity to inspire new thought, to inspire others to figure out what is important to them. Remember, many don’t realize that speaking is not only the words that come out of your mouth but also your body language, that energy that comes off you even when you’re standing in the grocery store in front of the clerk ringing up your groceries. Maybe you’re irritated and distracted because of a long day, a long lineup, and you have a long list of everything you still need to do. The clerk is hearing all of that without you having said one word.
It’s a big thing, understanding how you’re using your voice even without speaking and knowing how it’s landing with others. From there, you can get a clear understanding of the influence you want to have on everyone around you. Get clear on what you want to eliminate or bring to the world to make it okay. No matter how small or big you believe your impact is, everyone impacts everyone, so find your own rhythm, because you are like no one else, and no one else has your voice or can say things the way you do. Figure out, when you speak, every time you open your mouth, what is it that you want to communicate and inspire in people with your words? What is your niche? If you’re saying, “I don’t know right about now,” just know that everyone has one, which is what makes us all unique.
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When the unthinkable happens, a family’s life is changed forever.
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