Happy ‘One Year Closer to Death’ Day (The Weight of Words)

Happy ‘One Year Closer to Death’ Day!

It doesn’t have the same ring to it as ‘Happy Birthday’ does it?

Last week I was passing a tram stop outside Southern Cross Station in Melbourne. Surrounded by a small crowd of impatient people pushing to get through, I overheard a conversation between two young guys.

“I don’t know why people celebrate birthdays, it’s just like saying ‘hey, happy one year closer to death day’.”  

Given that today is my birthday (subtle) I was reflecting on this conversation. I noticed how just a few small negative words can easily suck the life out of something special.

Don’t underestimate the big impact of a few small words. 

Whilst the random stranger I overheard chose to speak negatively of birthdays, I personally choose to look at the same situation and speak in a different way. I choose to speak well and celebrate another year of learning, growth and wisdom. Another year of opportunity, friendships and beauty. Yes there were challenges, but through them all I am bigger and better for them. 

How leaders use language to frame situations or people matters. Your words have the creative potential to lift, inspire and build or to harm, divide and dismantle.

The words of great leaders carry weight. You can lift the atmosphere of the room with a few small words, or suck the life out of it. 

How will you use your words?

Something to think about: 

1.) What were the first words you used to open your last team meeting? Did you think about them? How did those words frame the meeting?

2.) When was the last time you were intentional with your words to build up someone on your team? Both publicly and privately?

3.) What words are you using right now to describe the culture you are trying to create? Are they the right words? Do people on your team know what they are?