If you have kids– or if you’ve ever worked closely with them– then you probably know that the language you use can have a huge effect on their attitudes. And we’re not just talking about curse words… The positive or negative way that you frame an idea can determine their entire perspective!

But that’s just kids…. Right? Their minds are so darn impressionable…

Actually, the exact same thing is true for adults! And it doesn’t have to do with how smart you are… This phenomenon affects everyone.  

Every day, you communicate with others using language. Even though you don’t choose every single word individually, the language you choose to use on a regular basis has a huge effect on your attitude and your perspectives. It can either MAKE or BREAK your ability to succeed.

Until now, you might’ve been using what we call “reactive language”… And we don’t blame you! It’s a natural response to stress and variable circumstances. But if you want to meet your full success potential and open up positive communication with your team and/or coworkers, you’ve got to learn to use proactive language.

So, what is proactive language?

Basically, it’s language that signals to your brain (and those around you) to keep calm. It says, “I am taking responsibility for my actions, and everything is under control.”

Let’s take a look at some classic examples of REACTIVE vs PROACTIVE language! These were pulled from a chart in Stephen Covey’s book, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (–one of our personal favorites!)

If you are using REACTIVE language, you’re likely to say phrases like….

  • “There’s nothing I can do.”
  • “That’s just the way I am.”
  • “He makes me so mad.”
  • “They won’t allow that.”
  • “I have to do that.”
  • “I can’t.”
  • “I must.”
  • “If only.”

Did you notice what all of these phrases have in common? They are all responsibility deflectors! When you use this kind of language, you give up control of the situation. And it doesn’t just affect you… It causes negative energy throughout the entire office!

Let’s look at some better language that you can use…

PROACTIVE language!

  • “Let’s look at our alternatives.”
  • “I can choose a different approach.”
  • “I control my own feelings.”
  • “I can create an effective presentation.”
  • “I will choose an appropriate response.”
  • “I choose.”
  • “I prefer.”
  • “I will.”

Do you see the HUGE difference? This language is positive, results-oriented, and empowering. By replacing the phrases in the first list with these proactive phrases, you can seriously change your own perspective… And the perspectives of those around you! Trust us on this one… Language is a whole lot more powerful than you’d believe.

Start creating new habits and make it a great Friday! (Oh and pssst! Don’t forget to check us out and “Like” us on Facebook for more great content!)

-Scheduling Institute Member Services Team