Our choice of word really does matter. Words profoundly impact our mindset. Mindset impacts our work, attitude, productivity, mood and relationships.
Consider these two statements –
“I’m a failure”
“This project I worked on failed”.
We need to start noticing when we fall into the word trap. This is especially important for association executives because our organizations have so much history and that history really colors our thinking. We find ourselves saying: this is the best association in the industry, this is the most prestigious association in the profession, the association is most known for x and y or, this association is the most credible voice the space. While this kind of self-talk or staff-talk seems positive at first it actually creates barriers.
We also think: our associate does this but, we would never do that. That company is not our competition because they do this and we do that. We cannot test, be in beta, or release a less than perfect product because we think our members expect us to be completely polished and perfect.
The word trap whether we are using prestigious, largest, preeminent. Or words like risk, failure or unsuccessful color our thinking and can make us less willing to try something new.
Who wants to be the person to step out on the ledge and face possible, probable, public failure?
What if instead of attributing these words to us and our association we attributed them to the projects we were working on?
It may be better to talk about our work as a series of projects. This project kind of flopped. This other project was okay. This project was an outstanding success. This is what we learned about this project. This is what I wish I knew about that project. Knowing this what will I do differently the next time?
Does this kind of self-talk start to unshackle us and our associations?