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July

2012

 
Freeing Yourself of
Self-Limiting Language

Conscious Communication: bringing communication up from "auto-pilot" and reactive, to thoughtful, responsive, and above all, intentional.

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Freeing Yourself of Self-Limiting Language
(click for podcast)

 

Either/Or - Limiting Choices
I received a response to last month’s newsletter, sparking a chain reaction of questions for me, eventually leading to this month’s topic. Addressing the Conscious Communication Chronicle’s communication-centric “mission statement,” the observation was made that [rather than communication] there was a strong focus on psychology.

The wording of the observation establishes a kind of context or rules of the game by putting communication on one side and psychology on another. What’s interesting is that knowing what a creative guy this was coming from, it probably wasn’t intended as an either/or form at all. The wording of the observation more reflected our common cultural slant for simplifying our choices; often to an either/or perspective. If I may quote myself, this is directly in line with simplification by reduction, rather than getting to the core essence.

The thing about simplifying our choices this way is that it also limits our choices, and that’s rarely what we want. Limiting other people’s choices may be helpful on the retail end, (ever wait tables?) but you probably want to have your options as open as possible. This is one of those unconscious ways we block ourselves, so the slightest awareness around this habit can make a big difference in your sense of emotional and mental “elbow room.”

The old maxim regarding using “yes, and” rather than “yes, but” actually speaks to the heart of this widening of our choices. We go from the digital, two possible answers of on or off to a more natural, organic spectrum. How many times have you been frustrated by multiple choice tests that wouldn’t allow you to choose more than one answer, or people who insist on yes or no answers to questions that have much more depth and texture to them? Is this about communication or is this about our psychology? Can either really exist without the other?



Mortar Between the Stones
Another place I often hear a digital choice being offered, is when people ask if I am a business coach or a life coach. I usually annoy them by answering “yes.” In fact, the reason that I so focus on communication, is because it is the very mortar between the stones of everything connecting our lives to each other, the world, and even our own thoughts and feelings. How often when you think about something, do you do it without any internal dialogue? How can we share what’s inside (psychology) with who’s outside, without communication? Whether that communication is using words to convey an internal experience to someone, to give direction, or even to mull something over in your head, those words control the nature of the outcome.

Our words and our psychology are very much like the chicken and the egg. It is almost impossible to establish a singular origin; they each create each other. Your self-talk is both the result of your psychology, and a creating element. The more we try to understand how everything fits together, the more we look at systems and relationships, the more communication becomes a factor.


The Doorway
Just as our way of seeing the world, sorting things out, and processing, creates a kind of language specific to that perspective, listening to that language from others gives you clues to their perspective. This is another example of the inextricable flow between psychology and communication. How do you work with a given person? How do you convey things to them? Just using our own styles and hoping others will get it isn’t terribly effective, so this “conscious communication” thing becomes very useful.

Let’s take a common element that shows up in our behavior, as well as our language: self-esteem. People constantly tell you how they feel about themselves (and thus you and others) through their language. Digging into our self-talk, there are numerous “reasons” our ego gives us for why we can’t, don’t, aren’t ___________[fill in the blank].

If we follow the ripples of these “reasons,” they take us to different behaviors or ways of being in the world. “I’m not enough” is actually quite different than “I’m not good enough,” which is again quite different than “there’s something wrong with me.” Each will manifest in the world as a completely different kind of person, with different perspectives, and speaking these slightly different versions of the same language. We need to understand this to motivate them, to sell to them, to convey our own thoughts or feelings to them, and to understand them as well.

We can also use language and our communication to shift our own way of being in the world; to motivate and understand ourselves. Psychologist Martin Seligman’s work with “Learned Optimism” at Penn State relies heavily on our internal communication. Our psychology (our mind and behavior) is fluid and changeable. Just as our perspectives affect our language, our language can have a remarkable impact on our outlook (that chicken or the egg thing.)

“Everybody always does this to me” becomes a recipe for depression, whereas addressing the pervasiveness, [everybody] the permanence, [always] and the personalization, [to me] could completely reverse the affect a circumstance would have on you. Communication gives us a way in to our own insides, and a way in to others. As long as we’re going there, it couldn’t hurt to do it consciously. Doing so gives us far more options and choices, as well as much better results. You might even say it gives us Optimized Results.


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Quick Communication Tip

Catch Your Inner Limiters

There are all kinds of ways that we hold ourselves back linguistically, so let's take a look at our communication with ourselves. Antithetical to our sense of optimism and drive, the three Ps of negative limits are: pervasiveness, permanence, and personalization. When you think about it, each of these words limits your experience of something.

Listen to your inner dialogue, and see if you can catch yourself using any of these limiting descriptors. When you do, rather than beating yourself up about it, enjoy the moment, as your awareness opens the door.

Here's the process: when you say, “I’ll never______,” catch yourself, (come on, never?!) and offer yourself the other possibilities for outcome. Do this for each limiter, giving yourself options instead. This replaces furrowed brows with smiles, motivates us, and increases problem-solving creativity every time.


Want to learn more about how your communication can hold you back or catapult you forward?  Come visit the web site, or better yet, contact me and see how we can design a program to fit your needs and desired outcomes.


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Resource Links:


Conscious Communication - the podcast series

KG Stiles: "Conversations that Enlighten and Heal"
Ian Blei on Kind Ambition and the
Integram (TM)

Personal Life Media - "Coaching the Life Coach:"
Communication Excellence (Podcast Snippets)
Communication Excellence (full interview)


Interview Podcast for Evolutionary Radio w/ J. McClain

Kind Ambition -
2nd Edition now available

Got Blog? c
ome visit the Blog.

Character Driven - Ever want to create characters that were so believable, that people forgot they were characters?

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Welcome to the Conscious Communication Chronicle, sharing how Conscious Communication results in success, and how you can achieve yours.   Enjoy!

 

 



The Optimizer
Ian Blei,
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