Note: More to Life with Faith and Lois is designed to be heard, not read. We hope you’ll listen to the audio, which includes emotion and emphasis that won’t be on this page. Our transcripts are generated with speech recognition software and may contain errors. 

 

Lois                        

Welcome to the podcast, More to Life with Faith and Lois.

Faith                   

I’m Faith

Lois                          

And I’m Lois.

Faith                      

Our podcast explores life’s many transitions that inspire and daunt us.

Lois                       

Very happy to be with you again, Faith.

Faith

Oh, I’m happy too.

Lois                         

This is really a joy to be tackling transitions right and left on a regular basis and we are already up to episode 76!

Faith                    

Can you believe it?

Lois                        

No, I can’t either. You know, some of these transitions are pretty blatant and they’re out there and you go, okay, that’s a transition. And others you go, is that really a transition? We’re talking about the impact these issues have in our lives. So many of them become transitions because of the impact of these issues that have the potential to create these shifts in our lives. And anytime you see a shift coming, that is a transition of sorts.

Faith                     

And it’s a good thing because it means something is happening. And that is the beauty of transitions is that there’s movement, there’s something breaking forth into new life.

Lois                       

So if you know someone who is facing a transition in their lives, we’d love it. If you would share this podcast with them or any of our other podcasts. You can go online to any of the platforms and you’ll see they’re all loaded up there. It’s so exciting to see so many. You can listen to all of them this weekend if you want – like do a big binge thing. It would be so cool. It would really help our numbers. But anyway, and then if you’d like to get a weekly update of what we’re doing, we’re doing more blogging now. We have different kinds of formats for you to view us on. So you know, you’ll find out all of that in our newsletter because we give you the latest there and we have events that are coming up as well. So www.moretolifewithfaithandlois.com that’s our website and you can sign up for our free newsletter for a lot of fun. So we are ready to be very precise as we step into today’s podcast because Episode 76. Transition: The Impact of Words.

Faith                     

Boy, sticks and stones, right?

Lois                       

First thing that comes to mind, right? Whatever you said this morning, whatever you’re writing down at lunch, whatever you’re thinking about this evening, especially if you verbalize it, these words have an enormous impact, Faith.

Faith                   

Yes they do. And we tend to forget that what comes out of our mouth. It’s really hard to pull back in. Especially if it’s a negative, we say things in the moment. We say things out of our intense emotional state in that given time. So a lot of this podcast today is about weighing your words and what are the words you want to be known as as you speak them, because there’s something about identifying yourself to the world with your words.

Lois                       

Because these words, you use the words, weight, our words have weight. Yes, they are heavy. Even the good ones. I mean I think we sometimes forget the power that’s in these little words. So we just toss things out, like just verbal bombs everywhere and we don’t realize the impact that we can hurt or lift up. Yes. And if you think of it with a little child, I mean just be at a playground and watch kids interact with each other and how quickly the tone can change for positive or negative depending on what’s been said.

Faith                    

So clear. The little child that has somebody says, I don’t like you. Oh my goodness. They go off into the corner, they disappear. A little sad face. And it’s just one little phrase can impact you for a very, very long time. And when I’m working with clients, it’s not always about huge traumatic events. Sometimes I will go to the playground and say, what do you remember growing up being on the playground at school? And almost everybody has a memory of something that really hurt their heart deeply because of what was said to them on the playground.

Lois                      

Words are important. Yes. And Faith for you in your life. When did it become clear that there was this weight, this importance to these words?

Faith                   

Wow. Um, I think the influencers in my life that have a focused me more on the power of words and how less is best. And I’m a verbal communicator. As people who know me, I love to talk. My husband teases me about it all the time and I go, you know, I really want to, you know, when I’m dying, I really want to be able to be so alert that I can keep talking. He goes, surprise. And so he laughed at me the other day about that. The point is, is that yeah, I love, I love the power of words, the beauty of words, the expression of words of things that I’m experiencing, things I’m thinking to be able to express that. But less is best because sometimes words can be overpowering and they can hurt as we’ve said, but they can bless as we’ve said. But the key thing about words is we want to communicate something that is important of value and a treasure to the person that we’re expressing it to.

Lois                      

And that’s why so many of us like to read and we like to read authors that we get comfortable with. We liked the way they phrase things and sometimes you’ll hear, well I really like him or her, but it’s difficult for me to read it and I have to read it three times for it to sink in. So we’ll often choose somebody that speaks or writes the way we like to speak. And it’s interesting how we choose those things. And having worked with words my whole life, they’ve been always very important to me because I knew they could come back to get me. When I was out reporting if I’m doing a live report, I still had to be very careful with my words. If I misspoke terribly, I could have legal action taken against me because I didn’t follow through where I needed to be. So when you hear people throwing things back and forth at each other all the time, you do know that there are consequences to that. And just this week, something I did four or five years ago, a video that I did with a local doctor, really great cardiac surgeon, by the way, Dr. Kevin Miller. But anyway, we did this video and it was five years ago and it was about the recovery process. We were talking about what happens and just yesterday I got an email with a question based on that video, very specific, very particular, and they wanted to know a detail about a procedure and some symptoms that this woman was having and wanted an answer. And I thought those things, those words that we put out there five years ago because there in the Internet, and believe me, everything that’s still out there folks, but I mean ours was meant to be posted, but she could read it, she could watch it and then have a question based on that. Just even yesterday for that to come up so quickly, it reminds you that your words, they have a life that goes beyond the speaking of them or even the videotaping of them. Our podcasts have a life of their own faith. People will be able to go back and say, I agree, disagree, or that was fantastic, I’m hoping is what they’ll say.

Faith                   

Yes, please say that.

Lois                        

You know, words are so beautiful and we can discover a lot of rich meaning and faith. You and I have done this a couple of times where we have picked words and given definitions on how we define the words. And that’s a lot of fun.

Faith                    

It is a lot of fun. I was just thinking about that couple of days ago of doing, you know, a word a day for a month and the power of the words and how much I learned about a word in its uniqueness. Because there’s such dimension to a word and we use words flippantly. And we need to kind of reel that in and recognize that we may have one meaning for a word in our mind, but somebody else might be hearing it with a different meaning. And so we never know where that miscommunication can happen. Words are meant to communicate. And if we’re not communicating well, something’s been lost in translation and we need to figure out what that is because we care about the person receiving the words that we’re offering them.

Lois                      

So we do know how impactful our words are when they hurt. And today we’re going to sidestep that. Not because we don’t believe our words can hurt, but because we’d really like to focus on the power of our words and what they can do for others. And we want to encourage each of us to believe that our words really matter and that our words say something about us.

Faith                    

Indeed, indeed, we have to own them. They are, they came from us. Therefore it is a part of us that we have put out there.

Lois                      

So when we talk about words as being powerful, one of the first things we can say is do you think just for a nanosecond before you speak.

Faith                   

I, oh, this has been so key for me in the developing of when I speak and when I don’t. And I will be the first one to say, look, I do not do this perfectly yet. I still make mistakes. And so if you happen to read something that I’ve ever put out there or I’ve said something, I’m still learning because this is something we keep moving into and keep working on. This is not a one and done thing. We have to be intentional about our words and I really good friend of mine has said, and I love this, is that you never say the first thing that comes to your mind or comes into your heart. Stop and think about it and what is the positive that you want to say to that person? Cause usually sometimes we may see something and you may be spot on accurate. Think about the workplace. Somebody that is that your coworker is not doing it right or hasn’t gotten their job done. First thing you want to say is you are not, you didn’t get that done. You need to get that done tomorrow and and you’re leaving me behind and you want to scold. Okay, that would be the first thing that you want to say. What’s the second thing? If you stopped and said, okay, what is it that I want? Then maybe that’s what you could bring to them. And you could say it in a kinder or gentler way, a more respectful way, but we’re so quick to say the first thing that pops into our head. So stopping before you speak, it can be very helpful.

Lois                       

One of the things that helps both of us – Faith and I are doing more writing these days in our blogs. When you write things down, you choose far more than when you speak and it makes sense, right? I mean, you write it down and go, oh, that does not, that just does not sound right. And so you can go back and because we have computers now, instead of having to use white out and go back and type it over, it makes it much easier to change things up super easily. It helps me reframe and that helps me as I move into speaking because I realize if I’m changing up that much of what I’m writing, boy sometimes I just let things rip and I don’t, I don’t think that far ahead. What a beauty, if I could use the same discipline when I speak as when I write.

Faith                    

Yes. Yeah. A pause is a gift, you know, and, and there have been times when we’ve done public speaking, I’ve seen you do it and I’ve done it as well of where we’ve just stopped. And that little nanosecond or two, we are choosing a better word. We’re choosing a better phrase and it’s helpful and it’s oftentimes our brains are amazing. They’ll come up with something very quickly. We just need a pause before we jump in.

Lois                      

It’s like fact checking ourselves. Yes, you know, a little, and don’t look at people around you to do this for you and to help you because boy, we have many examples right now in the public eye or that isn’t happening. Well, that doesn’t mean that we have to fall into their camp. We can stay true to what we know will make a difference because it’s still my words that will impact somebody else either positively or negatively because they have so much power to do that. Gary Chapman wrote a book called In Love as a Way of Life and he sees words in two very distinct ways and I really like this. He says they’re bullets or they are seeds, either their bullets because they’re spoken with a feeling of superiority and condemnation, or they are seeds with a feeling of supportiveness and sincere goodwill. You know, we all know when we have to have a difficult conversation, and we even phrase it like that, I have to have a difficult conversation because we have to speak something that’s a little uncomfortable. But there are still ways to deliver a difficult conversation that does not destroy someone with a bullet.

Faith                   

Indeed. And how wonderful is that, that when someone does come to you to have a difficult conversation, if they first lay the foundation of affirming you and telling you who you are and what they like and what they see and to say, you know, this doesn’t resonate with who I know you to be. And I’m wondering what happened here. And so can we have a conversation about what didn’t work here? Oh my goodness, you’ll step into that rather than you did it wrong. And that whole kind of parental scolding thing that we can so quickly fall into of proving to a person that that wasn’t the right way to do it. Rather than saying, wait a minute, you know, I know you and let’s talk about this because let’s find a better way that will work better for you and better for me.

Lois                      

When you can use open ended questions like what are your thoughts about this versus why did you do it that way? I mean there is no recovery from that second way of asking somebody a question other than someone being defensive. Yeah. So if you want to stop people from being so defensive around you think about how you are posing questions to them. Yeah, I mean Faith, you and I ask questions all the time and if we were always doing a do you or why did you or closed ended? We are going to have defensive people all around us and I will admit that there was a time where that’s how I lived. And it was interesting when my father got Alzheimer’s, I went to this class and they were very, very clear to not even ask any questions because of his brain and the shift that was going on. The easiest thing would be to offer him a glass of water, put it right there in front of him, and then he would say, no, I’d really like to have that iced tea. Oh, okay. But if I had asked him, would you like iced tea or water? The confusion could have resulted in frustration and anger. Now I’m not saying we can go through our whole lives and not ask any questions because people with sane minds generally will accept certain questions, but less questioning is really better.

Faith                   

Yeah. To be able to give options. Well that’s what you were doing. It’s another way of kind of instead of a question, it is saying here are the possibilities and so it’s open, it’s free and a person has a choice. When we become accusatory, we take choice away from that other person and that’s why they become defensive. We want to create inclusion. Our words should draw in, say, I am in relationship with you. I am communicating with you, not at you. That’s the beauty and power of words that we want to bring into and asking good questions is key when we’re dealing with things. But if something’s not working, then I always think in my mind, again, wonderful person has planted the seed in my head that I think about all the time. Ask a better question. It’s up to me. Ask a better question if this isn’t working. So instead of saying this isn’t working and it must be them, I stop and think, hmm, what’s the better question?

Lois                        

And see that shift. This is why we include the impact of words in a transition. It’s a shift in how you even pose a question or pose a statement or use a word and it’s a very minor shift. It’s not a huge overhaul of your personality. But when you make those little shifts, it’s amazing the result you get from people who no longer feel so defensive. It’s, it’s brilliant. So another way to look at this is to frame words in a positive manner. Now we’re not Pollyanna here and we’re not just saying that everything is, you know, happy clappy. That’s not what we’re going for. But Michael Michalko wrote this great blog in www.creativethinking.net about the power of words. And he recalled staying at the Ritz Carlton in Montreal and how the longer he stayed, he said the better he felt. And he’s saying normally didn’t stay at places that were this nice, but he shared with the manager why he was feeling so good. And the manager shared a really interesting insight. He said the most significant factor in training their employees was to frame everything they said, these employees to Michael in a positive manner. So instead of saying if someone performed a service, they would say it’s a pleasure instead of no problem. Or our restaurant would be pleased to serve you tonight instead of, why don’t you visit our restaurant tonight? I mean it’s really interesting. A few simple shifts like that started making people feel so comfortable that Michael said, by the end of his stay there, he found himself more happy and positive by the framing of these statements. And this was an educational thing that this manager said they had done with their staff and it just changed how people who were staying with them received the services and they wanted to stay longer.

Faith                    

Exactly. And that is a beautiful example about how our words can change the atmosphere. You can change an atmosphere that you walk into by the very thing you say. I was mentioning to you that one of the things that touches me deeply is when someone uses my name. Just addressing by my first name or as Mrs. Donaldson or something, my heart just kind of leaps a little bit. Oh, I’ve been seen. And we forget the power of addressing the person as a person, as being seen, as being known. And so we can start there by using the person’s name and then finding out more, saying, you really mattered to me. That’s what you’re thinking in your head. You’re not saying that, but that’s what you’re thinking. And then you enter into their world instead of it all being about your world.

Lois                      

Well, and that shows they’re listening as well. And that’s one thing we want. We crave that every single one of us wants to be heard. Yes. And when we use your name, Faith, and we’re listening to what you say, right? Oh my goodness, how, how much more positive can you feel? And if that’s happening in a hotel situation or a restaurant situation, that’s when you feel welcomed. And even if it’s trained, that’s a kind of training I want for myself and for anybody who’s serving and working with me.

Faith                    

Yes, in the service world. But you know, it keeps coming to me as we’re doing this podcast today. I keep seeing the work world because that’s where there’s so much tension and I think it’s really important that we pause and look at that and go, why is it that tensions rise in the workplace and how can that be changed so that it can be a place where it’s more enjoyable and more pleasurable? A lot of it has to do with our words.

Lois                      

It really does. You know, finally, if we look at complaining or affirming someone, and that has to do with the workplace. So if our modus operandi always is to look for what’s not going right and we’re ready to complain to somebody about what they have done incorrectly versus affirming what they have done and then ask them maybe how could they do it differently versus what did you do wrong? It’s, it’s really interesting. There was a great study that was put out there that if you’re ready to complain or put yourself down to ask yourself two questions, like, why am I about to say this and how is it going to serve me? And I know it’s really hard when you’re in that mode and you’re really upset about something to go through that. But if you can pause, if this can be something you put on a sticky note somewhere, why am I about to say this and how is it going to serve me? It might change your language from complaining about something to affirming something else.

Faith                 

What usually is motivating us as that, you know? Dang it. You’re going to hear me. You know we’re already thinking about our argument rather than thinking about our response. So we’re thinking about how we’re going to react and tell that other person how they’re wrong or you aren’t hearing me and we need to pause. We need to say, wait a minute. If I say this exactly, how is this going to serve me well, well it’s not. I can tell you right now it’s not. And if it’s with your spouse or your significant other, you’re going to be in conflict. So in conflict management, one of the first things they talk about as good communication of how can you say what you need to say differently. When I’m working with couples and they’ve been really out each other, I give them this one little thing to do. I’m going, when you get into a conflict, do a timeout, go to your separate corners, go into another room, go outside, do a 15 minute break, and then I want you to bring it down to what is the one sentence I really want the other person to hear one sentence, narrow it down to one sentence. What is the key thing I really want this other person to say? And then you come back together in 15 minutes and you each say that one sentence. It’s a whole new beginning because now the person can hear one sentence and it’s usually the nugget you really feel is not being heard. And so choosing our words, taking the time to choose them well can make a real difference.

Lois                       

Because your words reflect who you are. Yeah. So as they’re choosing these kind words, as they’re actually putting it in a sentence form, even if it’s difficult because you’re choosing and you’re showing respect for the other person as well, that is who you are, right? And you’re showing it to them and they can probably receive that a lot better than the entire monologue that took 20 minutes. So surround yourself with uplifting words. I don’t know if that means, you know, my father used to use verses all the time. And if you went into the car or in into the place where he did his shaving in the morning, he had these cards up all along the mirror, he would tape them up there because he wanted to be surrounded by affirmations that would remind him as he went to his day, that this is how he wanted to show himself to the world. And I think that’s such a good reminder for all of us. I don’t know where, where you have your sticky notes, but I’ve got them.

Faith                

I use my computer a lot just to look up quotes or to look up things about the day. Your computer’s right at your fingertips. You can bring up anything around any subject and it can really speak to you. So use it. Let other people’s experiences and words speak into your life.

Lois                        

And maybe right now you can just recall and think of something that was really encouraging that meant so much to you and see if maybe you could do that today. Mother Teresa has said “Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.” May we echo a little bit today, may we?

Faith                  

That would be wonderful. It takes only a few intentional and kind words to bring life to someone who’s having a tough day.

Lois                       

We are speaking all the time. Slow down. Consider what you’re saying and to whom and notice the difference it makes to change it up.

Faith                

Please share this podcast with someone who’s been impacted positively or negatively by words.

Lois                     

And join us next week for the Impact of Distraction.

Faith                  

Get the latest news on our social media platforms and on our website, and please subscribe.

Lois                       

More to Life with Faith and Lois is a podcast to support, encourage and uplift you.

Faith                  

As you transition through all sorts of change, we want you to know there is more to life.

Lois                       

We’ll be back next week.