Would You Speak About Your Best Friend Like That?
The language we use when we talk about ourselves is really important. You won't even notice it but I'm willing to guess that there's a lot of apologising or explaining or excuse-making and while you may not think it has any impact on you and your life, it really, truly does. Two things happened recently that made me think there was a blog worth writing in this. The first was a message I was sent on Instagram and the second was the day my husband went for a run. Bear with me...there's good stuff here. I wrote a blog about motivation and how to get motivated and this morning a lovely woman read it and replied with the following message:
"Evening, I'm just sitting breastfeeding my daughter reading your blog. Motivation resonated with me. I have a very small speciality coffee shop that I do all the baking for. We have had it for nearly a year and a half but I have complete imposter syndrome. It's small and we need to go bigger but I'm completely full of self-doubt and worried about financial pressure...but mainly that I'm shit and people will start to realise it. However, this is merely a long winded way of saying your blog helped...even if ever so slightly."
The difference between what this amazing lady is telling me and how she is telling me is huge. If I dig between the lines, this is what I read: she's got a small baby, she's set up her own bricks & mortar business, she's a badass baker and she's got plans to grow. On the flip side, here's what she was focussing on: the fact that her shop is small, that she doesn't believe she's worth success so she's not even acknowledging it, that she feels like she's failing because it's not bigger already and that she's doesn't believe she can do it, that it will work and, that she's shit.
The second example came via my husband, also this morning, on his return from his run. Yes, you read that correctly: he went running this morning. He was out for about 20 minutes and ran 2.14km. He came back and said, "That was a weedy run." What?! You went for a run. An actual run at 7.30am and the only thing you're focussing on is that it wasn't as long as you used to run for? I said to him, "If I'd got up this morning and done a 2.14km run (hahahaha) would you turn around to me and say, 'That was a weedy run,' or would you say, 'Wow...amazing job going running this morning'? Obviously, he agreed that it would be the latter.
I hear language like this all the time. I hear it from friends, family, at events and during our Small Business Consultations at Hustle & Fox. You may think that just saying or writing the words doesn't have any real impact but everything you do comes from you and if you're already reinforcing the fact that what you're doing is a bit shit, or that you can't do it, or you don't belong or, worst of all, that you're not worthy of success or brilliance then it won't happen and here's the kicker - that's down to you.
Every time you talk about yourself, your plans, what you're doing imagine you're describing your best friend's plans and achievements. If you did that you'd talk about it in glowing terms, you'd build her up and you'd be proud. Maybe it's a British thing, maybe it's a generational thing, maybe it's a bit of both but we're not taught to be proud of ourselves and we're certainly not taught to talk about how proud we are of what we've achieved and it's wrong.
So change you're language. Limiting language is a habit that we get into, often from a very early age, and we need to be able to break it. Instead of saying, 'I own a small coffee shop,' try 'I own my own coffee shop'. Instead of saying, 'It's small and we need to go bigger,' try 'We have some amazing plans for growth...' and instead of saying, 'It was a weedy run,' try, 'I got up and went running today and I'm proud of myself for it.' In other areas, instead of saying, 'I can't have that...' try, 'How can I have that?'. Instead of saying, 'That's not possible...' try, 'How can I make that happen?' Just being open to the possibility will make it possible.