History, women, language, and success have been filling my mind and heart a lot over the last year. The Hey, Boss Lady! Podcast is a big part of why, of course. I am meeting and learning about such incredible women. Our most current episode with Reminkit founder, Rita Glosser, is no exception. She started her business at 62 and is still growing it at 87. Our conversation inspired me to stay engaged, re-engage, and find more wonderful women to learn about.
There is also another reason history, women, language and success keeps coming up. March is Women’s History Month, and Rita has lived long enough to appreciate history, I decided to look back at a conversation I had a few years ago with my Millennial co-host of Serving Your Success, Kaitlin Kellogg. One of my favorite Girl Scout’s saying is, “Make good friends but keep the old, one is silver and the other gold.” Over the years, Kaitlin and I have stayed in touch as she went on to complete graduate school, get married and continue her career.
Five years may not feel like history to some, yet after experiencing 2020, five years feels to me like another century! If you needed any convincing just think about how the Netflix 2020 docufilm, Social Dilemma, has added information to what we now understand about social media and how language was used to trick us all.
I picked this segment because we are discussing not just social media, but how the language we use on social media impacts our lives. The shorthand version is that language directly impacts our well-being and feelings of success. Behavioral scientists have found that language guides everything from our ability to be optimistic to our ability to relieve depression. They have also found by studying the words we use in our posts that they can predict who is more likely to experience things such as heart attacks or be an optimistic person. In the end, everything from the ability for teams at work to succeed, to our love relationships, to the ability to ignite resilience depends on the words we choose and the language we use.
“Find the words and you will find the way.”
Kaitlin Kellogg and I have discussed language and its impact on success many times in our webcasts. We do so again in Episode 16 of Serving Your Success, this time with a focus on social media. Three points of interest in the episode can be found at 11:15; 14:00; and 23:13 where I define honest as used in positive psychology.
I think it is fair to say, social media has impacted the day-to-day language of all our lives. Specifically, the low boil of political correctness was raised to scorching levels through social media. Everyone seems to have a story of being burnt.
Shut up, Show up and Shine
We are — not just women but all of us — being called to examine our word usage and language skills. We are being called to slow down, think, not react, then act. How we speak, how much research we do before we share something, and how we trust, are at the forefront of the development of our self-awareness. Pausing gives the frontal lobe of the brain a chance to engage. The pause allows you to think. Thinking is the domain of the frontal cortex and is key to effective decision-making. Thinking before you speak will allow you to better trust the language you use.
No shame, No blame, No rationalization
Then of course there is that little issue of trust. Can I be trusted to do as I say I will do? Can I trust what someone else says to me to be accurate? At the core of all this is our ability to trust ourselves. Only we are responsible for our well-being. Only we determine what information we consume. Only we manage our reaction to what is put before us. We get the last say in everything. We all have the power we need. We just need to decide to use that power effectively. Pythagoras may very well be right. The oldest, shortest words — “yes” and “no” — are those which require the most thought.