Last night I was invited to participate as one of 9 professionals in a "Speed-dating" event for students of the University's communications and PR programs. Sixty students turned up to interview 'the practitioners' for ten minutes each.
It was fun, challenging and inspiring. These 20 somethings all have the fervour and the desire to make their mark in the world of PR. They believe in their ability to take on the world and create change -- very cool.
Something I noticed was their language -- it's actually not just their language, everyone does this.
To be in my 'power', I must use powerful language. When I disassociate from my 'I' through use of the word, 'you', I am not claiming my place at centre stage of my life.
Last night, pretty well every student, used 'you' language. Language that kept them from claiming their power as they spoke of 'you do it', not, 'I do it'.
Here's an example:
When I sat in the room with all the students last night, I was in awe of their energy. When you've been in the business a long time, you get kind of jaded and tired. It's discouraging when every day you hear the same old same old. You know, when you think you've got a brilliant idea on how to get the media to an event, and you get someone saying, You can't do that. You let their opinion talk you out of doing what you know is right. They want you to buy into their pessimism and yet, you want to be true to what you believe.
In that example, see where my 'I' shifted to the less powerful 'you'.
Here's how I could have said it:
When I sat in the room with all the students last night, I was in awe of their energy. I've been in this business a long time and I can feel somewhat jaded and tired at times. There are days when I feel discouraged. I here the same old same old and then, when I do think I've got a brilliant idea and someone tells me I can't do it, I don't stand up and say, Yes I can. I let their opinion talk me out of doing what I know is right. I buy into their pessimism even thought what I want the most is to be true to what I believe.
Speaking in the 'I' is big. Watching your language, catching yourself speaking in the you is the key to claiming your 'I'.
Try it. Listen carefully to your language and to the language of those around you. Do they disassociate from their feelings? Do they step back from claiming their 'I'? Do you?
The question is: Where does your language undermine your power? Where do you let yourself of the hook of accountability by not standing in your 'eye'?