Video Summary: The Power of Words
In our lives, we often say things without realizing the impact they can have on others. Here is a real-life example from my own experience:
I was facilitating a leadership course for executives, and during one exercise, I asked participants to reflect on the things that made them unique and different. As I was walking around the room, I stopped at a table where a person was sitting. I asked if they would like a hug, and they said yes.
As I hugged them, I said, “Know that you are worth it! I admire you and what you do in your life, both at a professional level and as a person.” I didn’t think much of this interaction at the time, but it was genuine and heartfelt.
A few years later, I received a phone call from this same person. They said that they needed to see me, and they asked me to meet them for coffee. I agreed, and my wife and I went to see them. When we arrived, they came out of the front door smiling and met us at the car.
The first thing they did was hug me and say, “You saved my life once before, and I need you to do it again.” I was taken aback by these words, but I responded that I would always be there for them.
We went inside, and they told me that they had been planning to commit suicide on the night of the leadership course. They felt that they weren’t good enough and that their challenges were too great. However, when I hugged them and told them that they were worth it, they decided to live.
Over the years, we had stayed in touch, and they had recently been diagnosed with cancer. They were told that their prognosis was poor, and they thought that if they could see me, I could give them the strength to beat it.
This person did beat cancer, not because of me, but because something I said to them many years ago changed the way they thought about themselves. My words had a profound impact on them, even though I had no idea.
This story illustrates the power of words. Words can lift us up or crush us. When we speak to others, we should be mindful of the impact our words can have.
Here are some tips for using your words wisely:
- Don’t tell people what they shouldn’t do; show them what they can do.
- Never say “but.” Instead, use “and” to show people how they can thrive, even when they fall.
- Offer people choices, and empower them to make their own decisions.
Be present. Be kind. Be compassionate. Be understanding. Be accepting. And remember that your words have power.