If you know you want to make a change, but feel challenged in making that change and sticking to a new behavior or process, look at your language.
Does “Get Your Shit Together” Offend You?
If you spend enough time on my website, you may eventually be interrupted by a pop-up that says “Get Your Shit Together.” A few months ago, my father sent me an message to inform me that this is “a real turn off.” He advised me that I should find a more “elegant” word.
I thanked him for his suggestion and left it exactly as it is. That pop-up is the most popular subscription form on my site. Rather than deterring potential clients, this language actually speaks directly to those people who are most likely to work with me.
It speaks their language.
Speaking Your Language
You may say “I need to get my act together” when you’re in front of your kids, or talking to your boss, or your grandmother. But when you talk to yourself, or your closest friends, when you’re being real and honest, you say “I need to get my shit together.”
That’s my language. That’s your language.
One of the primary factors that I see in my clients who feel stuck is that, in public, they soften their language instead of saying what they really feel.
When someone asks how you are, you respond with “fine” or “ok.” When describing your situation, you may say “it’s not that bad.”
When you do this, you don’t speak your own language.
If everything is fine, if your situation is not that bad, why would you change?
You wouldn’t. And that’s why you’re stuck.
The Power of Words
The words we choose are important. Words have the power to move us. They convey emotion and meaning.
The word resonate means “to produce or be filled with a deep, full, reverberating sound.” When something resonates with us it creates vibrations within our body. Words that resonate don’t just connect with our emotions; they create a physical reaction in our bodies.
Other terms we use also convey the idea of this physical response. We talk about how a message “strikes a chord.” When you play a chord on a piano, the strings vibrate. That’s how the sound is created. When words resonate and strike a chord, we are “stirred to action.”
It’s Not Your Job to Make People Comfortable
Women, especially, often soften our language to conform to cultural expectations about how we should speak.
We are told that it’s not “ladylike” to curse. It’s not a “nice way to talk.” Some people believe it reflects a lack of education and a limited vocabulary, although studies show that people who curse actually have more expansive vocabularies and greater language fluency.
These cultural expectations are a cover for what’s really going on: some people are simply not comfortable with hearing us express what we actually feel.
Here’s the problem: softening your language to make other people comfortable interrupts your process for change. Change is born out of discomfort.
It’s not your job to make other people comfortable. It’s your job to speak your truth.
Speak the Language That Speaks to You
The only way to push through the sticking point and change is to speak truth to power: acknowledge the pain of where you are and to speak to that. Use language that resonates with you.
Choose words that strike the chords within you and stir you to action.
Speak the language that speaks to you.
Know someone who needs to get their shit together? Share this with them!