We’ve all heard that actions speak louder than words, but let’s not underestimate the power that words have over our life. The power to empower. After all, words can inspire you, they can make you smile, they can make you think and they can help you through the best and worst of times. Buddha once said, “Words have the power to both destroy and heal. When words are both true and kind, they can change the world.” While your actions are a necessary component to being your best, without empowering words you’ll never be motivated to take action and become your best.
As Psychology Today reports, according to Gail McMeekin, MSW, LICSW, an executive/career/creativity coach in Boston and the best-selling author of The 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women, “empowerment is about feeling self-confident and being able to communicate with others. We then link our thoughts and desires to initiate positive actions in the world.” You cannot have empowerment without communication, so it’s crucial that you choose your words wisely, both when speaking to others and speaking to yourself.
The Impact of Words
But how do you know which words will be the most empowering, and ensure that you use those words whenever possible? Unfortunately, there is no guide that tells you exactly what to say and when. (If only.) We all stumble, we all search for the right words only to land on all the wrong phrases, we struggle to say what we really think and we are affected by the words we hear from others. But it’s important that we never forget that choosing our words wisely can set us up for success by fostering a positive attitude and a positive tone for your day.
And this applies to both your personal life and your professional future. As Forbes tells it, according to Darlene Price, author of Well Said! Presentations and Conversations That Get Results, “in the workplace, a positive collaborative mind-set can mean the difference between landing a job or losing out; winning a customer or wasting an opportunity; developing teamwork or destroying trust…
Words Are The Expression Of What You Feel
Words announce to the world how you feel and what you think about important workplace values like respect, commitment, accountability, gratitude, initiative, service, and excellence.” In your personal life, words that inspire and uplift you will not only make you feel good but also give you the boost you need to act in a positive way that will enhance your life. It can be hard to know exactly which words to use, but a great place to start is to think about which words make you feel good when you say them.
Words should feel good to physically pronounce and they should make you feel good about yourself. As Elite Daily reports, words like strong, passionate, fearless, confident and respect all elicit positive emotions. They make you feel unstoppable, ambitious, proud, capable and deserving of success. Wear these words proudly and use them often.
The Moment of Use
While there is certainly a time and place for using the word “I”, sometimes saying “we” is even more powerful. It’s important to speak about your own goals and feelings, but if you are trying to empower a group, you want to develop a sense of collaboration, where you all help lift each other up and work together to achieve success. Strength in numbers is real…show appreciation, offer respect, acknowledge good work and spread positivity.
If anyone knows a thing or two about empowerment, it’s Oprah Winfrey, who has empowered millions throughout her long and inspirational career. But perhaps one of the most powerful things she has said was when she was honored at the Variety Power of Women luncheon in 2015 for her work with the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy Foundation. She accepted her award by saying that “what we’ve done, you can do. The real empowerment comes when each person leaves this room and makes a decision.”
The very word “decision” can spark a bug in people to take action, to make a change and to make a difference. Another powerful word is purpose—encouraging others to think about their purpose, their mission, their passion and their beliefs, and to live each day remembering that larger goal. It’s easy to get caught up in the stress and chaos of life, but when you don’t lose sight of what you are really fighting for it can make all the difference in how you behave.
Lastly, we can’t forget that empowerment isn’t a one-size-fits-all idea. We are all empowered by different goals, and we all have different opinions and different ways of thinking. That’s what makes life interesting. But one thing that is consistent across the board is that positivity will always win. Encouraging yourself and others with positive words will always work better than trying to criticize or knock someone down.
Offer to help, express gratitude when someone else helps you, express understanding and concern, show appreciation for good work and acts of love, and above all, show that you recognize your own worth and the worth of others around you. Feeling acknowledged and important is one of the best ways to empower positive action.