Enjoy this excerpt from our new book, Healthy Leadership.
Although it’s an ambitious goal to change the world as a whole, we often underestimate our singular power to positively change the world for those around us. While we might not all be Gandhi, Mother Teresa, or Martin Luther King, Jr., each of us has the power to change someone’s world with the gift of encouragement.
Whether it’s a conversation with an employee, colleague, boss, friend, or relative, or simply placing an order at a restaurant, every word makes a difference. The results of our interactions are rarely neutral; they are almost always positive or negative.
Ask yourself, “Do my words, energy, and body language reflect my desire to encourage others and be a positive influence?”
Your words create your world. Humans are unique in that we can comfort each other with words. A compliment at the end of a hard day can calm you down while a hateful word from someone can cause your brain to think there is a threat, thus stimulating negative emotions.
Words do not even have to be spoken to have an impact. Text messages can change a person’s heart rate, breathing, and metabolism. Words have a physical effect on your body because various brain regions that process language also control major organs and regulatory systems.
Words can create a lasting impact. They change not just how we feel but what we see as possible for our lives. In fact, a Korn Ferry Institute study found that 65 percent of female CEOs from large companies only realized they could attain that position after someone told them they could.
Knowing that words can have such life-changing power, it’s interesting to learn that the English language contains 62 percent negative emotional words and only 38 percent positive emotional words.
So, choose your words carefully. The English language stacks the deck toward negativity. You must intentionally choose your words to be a positive force for your team.