Words matter.

The words we use influence our self-talk.  Our words influence how we see and feel about things. 

Over the last few weeks, I’ve struggled a bit.  I’ve been grieving and managing a lot of personal challenges at the same time.  

Some days I feel focused and strong.  Other days, I feel like everything is a struggle.

My habits and processes are helping.  I attribute my successes to them during this difficult time. 

However, today I realized that I need to watch my language. 


Yesterday, I woke up feeling a bit sad and overwhelmed.  I struggled to start my morning routine.  At some point, I stopped punishing myself and just permitted myself to be.   I hugged myself and encouraged myself to start the day from where I was.  By the time I sat at my desk, I felt much better and felt focused, and inspired. 

I got a lot done yesterday.  

Today, I woke up feeling inspired from the day before and powered through meeting after meeting until I hit mid-afternoon.  I’m starting to struggle again.  

“But you have to write a blog.” 

And then I caught myself—words matter.  Words have weight.  

Telling myself that “I had to” write a blog wasn’t helping me.  When I needed to be kind to myself, this self-talk made me feel even more burdened. 

I know how powerful words are.   I know that words can influence us.   So I changed what I was saying to myself. 

“I want to write a blog.” 

“I want to prepare for my client coaching call.”  

Suddenly, the tasks I had to finish today didn’t feel as heavy.  They didn’t feel like a burden.  

Like yesterday, by changing how I talk to myself, I was able to turn things around. 

I was able to change my energy and, in turn, create different results.  

If you want to change how you talk to yourself, watch out for these words:  

  • But:  I want to go to the movies, but I have work to do.  Why do we assume we always have to make a choice?  Why can’t we do or have both?  I want to go to the movies, and I have work to do.  The “but” feels like you have to sacrifice one or the other.  “And” feels like we can consider doing both.  We then focus on finding ways to do both. 
  • Have to/should:  I have to do laundry.  I have to/should write this blog.  Have to and should feel like a burden.  It feels heavy.  It feels like if I don’t do it, I’m bad.  Yet, if I change it to I want to do the laundry, or I want to write this blog, I now feel like I am privileged to have the opportunity to do the same task.  
  • Problem:  I have a problem.  Do you have a problem, or do you have a challenge?  Either way, you have something to solve, but the feeling is different.  One feels heavy, and the other feels like an opportunity.  

When I catch myself saying these words, I know to check in and see if I am focused on blaming or complaining or if I am focused on creating solutions and results.  

Words do matter.   If choosing the right words changes how I feel and see things, let’s choose the right words.  

Have you ever experienced a shift by changing the words you use? 

What other words would you add to my list of words to watch out for? 

A different language is a different vision of life.

Federico Fellini