Life & Style Weekend - - MIND - MIND YOU WORDS: NICK BEN­NETT Nick Ben­nett is a fa­cil­i­ta­tor and coach at mind­

Have you ever stopped to truly lis­ten to the words you use in your think­ing and out loud? The num­ber of “maybe”, “should”, “prob­a­bly will”, “might” used when talk­ing with some­one or even to your­self (some­thing that I do a lot much to Rowena’s amuse­ment). Su­san Scott re­minds us of that with her state­ment: “I’m al­ways hav­ing a con­ver­sa­tion with my­self, some­times it in­cludes other peo­ple.”

The rea­son that this comes up for me as some­thing that needs at­ten­tion is that it cre­ates a real drag on get­ting things done with any com­mit­ment. We need to man­age lan­guage. By that, I mean make con­scious de­ci­sions us­ing words and thoughts that pull us from the morass cre­ated by in­de­ci­sion, pro­cras­ti­na­tion and ul­ti­mately what ends up as avoid­ance.

This is par­tic­u­larly rel­e­vant if you are a leader in a team, cer­tainly if you are a busi­ness owner and crit­i­cal if you have re­spon­si­bil­i­ties for de­liv­er­ing to time pres­sure and a stan­dard.

I have run hun­dreds of lead­er­ship work­shops, team align­ment and strat­egy ses­sions and coached from the ‘C’ Suite to the crib room across Aus­tralia and be­yond and this thing with lim­it­ing lan­guage is heard in all those di­verse en­vi­ron­ments.

The one that most peo­ple con­nect with when chal­lenged is ‘try’. If you’ve been a Star Wars fan, the im­age of Yoda sit­ting on a rock watch­ing Luke Sky­walker as he strug­gles to come to terms with his la­tent power say­ing “Use the Force, Sky­walker” to which Sky­walker says “I’m try­ing”. Yoda pro­vides us with his guid­ance as he makes his wis­dom known and points out: “There is do or do not – there is no try.”

And so it is with th­ese words that cloud our clar­ity, our com­mit­ment, our ca­pac­ity to truly per­form.

We all have the “Force”, we just need get hold of the lan­guage we are us­ing and make the state­ment to com­mit. Not “I’ll try” but “I will” or “I won’t”; ei­ther way you’re mak­ing a clear de­ci­sion. Not “prob­a­bly” or “I guess” but clearly “Yes” or “No”; ei­ther is fine. It is more than OK to make a clear de­ci­sion. It is im­per­a­tive if we want to get the best out of ev­ery day, ev­ery per­son and each ex­pe­ri­ence that we en­counter.

If you are avoid­ing com­mit­ting be­cause you’re un­com­fort­able, need more time or in­for­ma­tion, don’t re­ally want to or per­haps don’t want to up­set some­one, then it’s time to step up and stop the com­pro­mise of your ‘self ’. Noth­ing changes un­til you take con­trol of the lan­guage you use and that will then de­ter­mine the out­come you can achieve.

If you’re up for it, here’s the chal­lenge: lis­ten to your­self when you’re ‘try­ing’ to avoid some­thing. In­stead of duck­ing and weav­ing, just say “Yes” or “No”. There’s power in that. May the ‘Force’ be with you.

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