Watch Your Language to Maintain a Positive Mindset

My two-year-old grandson has heightened my awareness about how the language we use every day affects our mindset. His parents want to ensure that their children are exposed only to positive messaging, which includes setting boundaries, providing feedback and ensuring learning, all delivered in a positive way. It seems to be working. He is a very caring, fun-loving, positive little boy. And totally gorgeous…not that I am at all biased. Oh wait, did I just use negative language to say that.

It is amazing how language can have a positive or negative impact on our lives. We often tell people what we don’t want them to do rather than focusing on what we do want them to do. “Make sure you don’t have too many slides” versus “Please keep the number of slides to five or less.” The first message is unclear, and it assumes the task is not going to be completed correctly. Certainly not “Coaching for Success” language!

Negative language has the power to be very detrimental to morale in an organization. Have you ever noticed what happens when someone makes a negative comment in an otherwise positive conversation? All of a sudden the energy level can change and the conversation deteriorates into a gripe session.

In his book, The Happiness Advantage, Shawn Achor, shows that when people work with a positive mindset performance improves on nearly every level, including productivity, creativity, and engagement.

So what to do?

  • Reframe. Instead of going into negative mode, reframe your thinking and look for the positive. Feed your mind with thoughts that focus on your success.
  • Choose to have a positive mindset. Engage in discussions in a positive way only. Speak up and change others thinking or walk away. Eliminate negative language and replace it with either positives or no comment.
  • Ensure that feedback is always provided in a positive manner, even when it is concerning areas for development. This involves skillful use of the personal pronoun “you.” Always use “you” when celebrating successes and never use it when giving feedback on areas for enhancement.
  • At the end of each day reflect about three things for which you are grateful.  Focussing on the positives will add value to your life.
  • Disassociate from or minimize your interactions with people who de-energize you. Life is busy enough without taking on their issues.

A positive mindset goes a long way to enabling you to achieve what you may have thought was impossible.

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July 1, 2013

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