2016 has been a crazy year for me as well as many people I know. Maybe it is a reflection of the time, political season or a result of a polarized nation. Things aren’t necessarily bad, but they are not great either. As many people have decided that no matter who is elected president, the apocalypse is coming, I have decided to take on a more positive attitude.
Please note this is not my normal demeanor. I typically imagine the worst things that can happen and work my way back from that view point to get to a “happy place.” But being surrounded by people and messages that sound the death toll on a regular basis makes you rethink some things. As the saying goes “a chain is only as strong as its weakest link.”
Negativity can never be as strong as positivity. Positive thinking gives way to positive results. Here are a few words and phrases I am banning from my vocabulary!
1. Broke. When used in context, it usually means a temporary lack of funds. How temporary depends upon the individual. It is not actually a sign of poverty which is linked to a more permanent and long term state of being. Broke, when used in context means you are making money, but you still lack money. It’s cyclical. There is never enough to go around.
Yes, there are bad habits that we can break and things we can do better to unhinge from the state of brokenness. But really, when you say that you are broke, you are saying more about your state of mind than you are your financial situation. It is frustrating being broke. It is more frustrating knowing that you are broke and feeling like you cannot do anything about it! The ultimate result is that you begin to make poor decisions because you are broke. Being broke makes you desperate and you spend or don’t spend based on your temporary situation.
Replacement word: Possess. Used as a verb, possess means to have an object. Something that belongs to you. Instead of referring to what I don’t have (or lack), I am now referring to what I do have. No, I may not possess enough money to pay for the website upgrades or marketing guru, but I do possess a computer and access of the internet. No, I don’t possess a million dollars in my bank account, but I do possess the skills and talent to obtain it. Possess is always connected to something that is separate from your state of being. What do you possess?
2. I’m not good at that. None of us are great at everything. There are some skills that we excel at and some that we simply cannot grasp as quickly as others. I am no mathematical genius. To be honest, there are not words that can equate to my disdain of mathematics. But as one who works with small business owners, understanding of financial statements (yes, I know that is not math), ROI as well and profit margins, means that as much as I cringe when I look at numbers, I must understand them.
When we say that we are not good at something, we automatically create stress about the matter. It becomes harder than it needs to be because we are assuming truths that are not there. I have business friend that is petrified of dealing with operations. She doesn’t want to hire anyone because she does not want to deal with having employees or contractors. That is because she is not good at managing people. It’s true, she is not, but that doesn’t be she couldn’t be better than she is now. Maybe she will never be one of the great business leaders of our time, but does that mean she has to be the worst?
Replacement words: I am working on being better. As I stated before, no one is great at all things. I certainly do not believe in staying ignorant of certain business processes and just letting a professional handle it. How do you know if that person is any good or not? In addition to math, marketing confounds me. My mode of thinking is not typical and I find it strange that I have to take a course in psychology to get to understand and know my customer. I am working on being better at marketing. Because I must! Even if I hire a marketing person to handle my business, how will I know if they are doing a good job? How will I know if what they are saying makes any sense or not? I have to be better.
3. Branding and Expert. Two for the price of one. Both are meaningless these days. The buzz words are a particular pet peeve of mine! Frankly, I do not understand why we bother to have a dictionary anymore if words no longer have meaning. But, I digress. Branding? What is that anyway? Raise your hand if you have needlessly paid a branding expert to give you a pink, red or blue color scheme? Sigh. I feel bad for true professionals who have seen their skills usurped by novices that think color schemes and fonts are all that matter in branding. True professionals understand that branding is a strategy. Colors, fonts, logos are all a part of a strategy that should lead somewhere.
The same goes for so called Experts. How many experts are out there who have never (and I do mean never) done any of the work that they claim to be an expert on? Call yourself what you want, but expert used to mean that the person had some unique training or skill set. Not anymore! Now it means that you read enough articles to charge other people who haven’t read those same articles. It is a sad reality and frankly, I it is a disservice to all industry professionals who know what they are doing.
Replacement words: Presence and Professional. Stick with me! I realize these are not cool words, but that is the point. Do I want to brand my business or create a presence in my field? Same thing? Maybe. But really what speaks volumes is not the buzz word that everyone wants to hear, it is the result that I want. I do not need a pink business card to make my business stand out. I need to create a presence that cannot be ignored. The same thing goes with being an expert! Professional still has meaning in context. There is an expectation that you will get a particular type of service and knowledge from a professional. I find these words have real meaning and are not hollow and flashy adjectives. My business has substance and I want the words I use to reflect that as well.
Shahara Wright is an experienced and highly sought after business law attorney and business strategist. She is the author of From Entrepreneur to CEO and host of the CEO Collaboration Circle. Shahara founded The CEO Effect, LLC to work with small business owners who want to implement strategy to build capacity.