In Your Own Words by Martin Brossman

Posted under Influence,Simple Business,Truth,Words by admin on Thursday 11 February 2010 at 11:26 pm

Concept image of the six most common questionsThe idea that our words can create and really effect change was an extraordinary discovery in my life. But at the same time, I have to admit, everyday life situations make it incredibly easy to forget this concept!

Let’s look at two ways to view our own words. One is to see them as a vehicle to describe the world around us; another is to use them to create something new in our lives. When the Declaration of Independence in America began, it was just words on paper, yet it changed the course of history. Notice the words “declaration of independence”–they are stating a commitment with actions aligned with it. When John F. Kennedy said, “This nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the Earth,” that was also just words. When Martin Luther King made his “I have a dream” speech, that was also ‘just words’. Do you think in all of these instances they had it all worked out, their plans all together, feeling fully prepared with understanding of all the details of fulfillment that would spread out ahead of them? Of course not! But the world now knows just how powerfully these declarations of words with committed actions changed reality.

What if we spoke each day as though we, too, could change or influence reality? Would you choose your words in a different way? Would you use your words like a talented sculptor who lines up his chisel in just the right way to create something new and marvelous out of bare stones?

What gives our words more influence? Is just stating something enough? Maybe adding visual emphasis by putting up our affirmations on sticky notes all over the house? That may be a useful start, yet something more seems to need to be present.

In the three historic examples there was the power of real committed declaration followed by committed action. Perhaps you’ve had experiences where you stated words of declaration followed by true commitment of actions. How did others respond to your words? Have you ‘trained’ people to know you as someone whose words are aligned with your actions? What type of garden have you created for your words to land in? A fertile word garden is one where what you say and do align with each other.

Do you live as though your words have meaning, life, passion, making a difference– or do you use your words for collecting evidence of how life does not work for you?

As I am writing, I am critiquing myself. I can find places where I am giving power, commitment and action to my words and others where I am not.

When I was thinking of what questions to explore in the first-ever live recording of my men’s discussion group, The Men’s Inquiry, I chose to explore the power of our word. The starting question was: “What does it mean to be a man of your word?” The discussion revealed that where some men believed they ‘were their word,” they discovered that often they were not. For example when you say you will be at location X at time Y and you are not, do you realize you ‘broke your word’ and how that affects you and others? What does that say about how you value their time? What does that say about how you view the value of YOU being there? What does it mean to ‘be your word’ and why would you do it? To me it means what you say will happen, does happen!

I have found that word, commitment, and integrity are very important to be packaged together if you want to make things happen in the world. I have also found that aligning them gives more power to your word for yourself, others, and your environment. What builds trust the most is not so much how likeable you are, but what you do to align your words with your actions– and what you do when your words do not align with your actions. I have also discovered in working with my coaching clients that taking the ‘moral issue’ out of aligning your actions and words seems to help improve alignment of both. For example, if you just feel guilty and bad that you broke your word and do nothing else, you have increased the chance that you will do it again. On the other hand, if you move beyond the ‘judgment’ level of this and see that your words did not align with your actions, then what to do next is to clean up the break in your word with some new action.

I have also discovered that when we improve our integrity to ourselves, our word seems to have more impact to others. That is, when what you say to yourself you are going to do aligns with what you do, you gain more ability to affect your environment.

At the same time if you become too ‘careful’ with words, you won’t learn how to use them, experience their effect, or be able to study what works and what does not. It is like my Aikido instructor said: you will never be a master until you learn to love the mat. This means you will not make any great progress unless you give yourself room to make mistakes and learn from them. Some people are so careful with words, afraid to commit to an action, or using words so dispassionately that they become enslaved by their own process of carefully controlling themselves and their environment.

The Maverick BuilderWhat does this have to do with business? It has everything to do with business. If your words don’t align with your actions, the foundation of your business will be on unstable ground. The higher the business builds without congruency of words and actions, the greater likelihood that the unstable foundation will cause problems to surface.

So in the process of exploring the effect of your own words, make sure to allow some passion and fun to come into the mix! Take it very seriously for a bit, then explore taking it lightly and learn from both approaches. How has aligning your words with your actions affected your life? I would enjoy hearing about it!

Here’s a great closing quote from Oprah Winfrey: “I believe the choice to be excellent begins with aligning your thoughts and words with the intention to require more from yourself.”

Martin Brossman is a Success Coach, speaker, trainer and author. His new CD “What does it mean to be a man of your word” can be found on the Men’s Inquiry Web site at: Martin can be reached at , (919) 847-4757, or