You know that feeling you get the first time you use the term ‘girlfriend’ to introduce the girl you’re dating to your friends? It's a strange feeling. Something happens in that moment like it hadn’t before. Maybe you’d already had “the talk” with her, but saying it out loud and telling others makes it more official, more real. Of course, you weren’t just substituting one word for another; you were making a statement about a change in status, commitment and purpose. But it was in changing a single word that you changed everything. Your entire perspective of her —and your relationship with her — is immediately altered in a way that can never be the same. She’s no longer just your friend. She’s something better. Something more valuable. All that with one single linguistic tweak.
Without question, language matters to humans a great deal. It matters in our personal lives and our professional lives. It affects how we view ourselves and how we view others. It has the power to change relationships, change emotions, and change minds. Our tone can build a castle or level a house of cards. Our vocabulary can soothe and calm or stir chaos and discord. The choice is ours. On Monday, I’ll release the first episode of the Bold Future podcast. In it, I talk with Dave Gray about company culture and why language matters. He speaks predominantly from a business perspective, but the lessons translate to every aspect of our lives. I’m excited to share it with you.
In the meantime, think about your words. I’m doing the same. To lead well, we must choose them wisely. Do you?