“Handle them carefully, for words have more power than atom bombs.” ~Pearl Strachan
Are you undermining yourself, both personally and professionally with your very own words? I know I’ve been guilty of it myself, more than once. I was fortunate to have a friend point it out to me so I try to be more conscious of my word choice. I have seen women in the workplace especially do this, but they’re not the only ones. Men can also fall victim to self sabotage.
Anytime you make a statement or give an opinion followed by something that discredits your own idea, you are sabotaging yourself. Take for instance, a message that I received this week from an educated, intelligent, and savvy businesswoman who was giving me feedback on a document that I asked her to review. She listed some excellent suggestions but then followed them with, “Maybe these comments are too late..if so, no problem, they were just fussy little things anyway.” There was nothing fussy about her suggestions, and yet, with one comment, she discredited her own ideas.
Your thoughts, opinions, and suggestions have value. Give them the credit they deserve by stating them confidently without minimizing their importance. You will find that others will value what you have to say, when you see your own value.
The “I’m Sorry” Statement
Apologizing when you’ve done something wrong is never a bad thing. However, overusing the “I’m sorry” statement shows a lack of self confidence. If you say you’re sorry for every little thing, you are taking the blame for things that aren’t your fault.
The “I Think” Statement
Do you preface your opinions with, “I think” or “I guess” rather than just stating them with confidence? Both statements produce doubt in your mind and in your listener’s about the opinion you are about to voice.
So how do you eliminate these bad habits and improve your communication?
1. Awareness The first thing is to become aware of the words you choose and how you use them. Once you are aware, you can catch yourself when you slip up and correct it. You can only change a habit when you have this awareness.
2. Challenge yourself to speak for 15 or 30 minutes without using self-sabotaging language. It can be more difficult than it sounds, but it does get easier.
3. Improve Your Confidence Work on improving your overall confidence by loving and accepting yourself. Let go of the fear and trust yourself and your instincts. You will be more confident and it will show when you speak.
What are some ways that you or others use self-sabotaging language? What techniques do you use for effective communication? I’d love to hear them. Please comment below.