There is a famous quote that says “You can’t take back words you’ve already said, and you can’t take back someone’s tears that already shed.” Words have the power to build us up or tear us down. As a executive coach working with leaders, I have seen firsthand, how words can provide the motivation to move people ahead, or the power to destroy their resolve or and cause a block in their pathway.
Often when I help clients work through the latter type of situation, we discuss transformational vocabulary and the power that it can hold in their role as a leader. As humans, we have many different types of sensations and an almost unlimited number of emotions available to us, yet to conduct the daily business of our lives, we generally create a vocabulary of certain preferred words and phrases that we use on a regular basis to help is work through a variety of experiences and emotions whether they are entirely appropriate or not.
When I discuss this with leaders there is often an epiphany as they realize how trying to fit complex events into a limited habitual vocabulary distorts, deletes, generalizes and/or literally changes their experience. The process of using a limited vocabulary impacts emotional intensity (or lack thereof) in almost every moment of the waking existence. Furthermore, daily mantras using transformational vocabulary offer powerful biochemical triggers or anchors to the human nervous system.
For example, if a person’s habitual vocabulary for a painful experience is limited to words such as “furious” or “angry”, they may not be critically analyzing the negative sensations and may inappropriately amplify the internal experience that word elicits. On the other hand, some people may experience the exact same emotional intensity, sensation or experience, but their habitual label is “annoyed.” By using this vocabulary, they immediately transform their sensations to a level of emotional intensity much lower than that of the person who uses the word “angry.”
Positive sensations work the same way. Using the words “passion” or “jazzed” produces a much more powerful positive experience than “okay” or “alright.” Developing and enhancing the scope and quality of our transformational vocabulary and internal mantras instantly expands our emotional experience of life itself.
So how can this information help you as a leadership coach? Consider the following outcomes:
Words not only describe an experience, they form an experience. Transformational vocabulary is a technology developed by Anthony Robbins to help individuals employ habitual vocabulary (the words that are consistently used) to amplify or lower the intensity of emotional states. These words can lessen the intensity of negative states and increase positive states.
Wondering how you can use transformational vocabulary to help you either as a leadership coach or in a position of leadership? Feel free to contact us here at the Academy of Leadership Coaching & NLP for some life-changing alternatives to your habitual vocabulary.