The Scripture makes it clear that careless words can have a powerful effect on people. Do you say words that you would rather not have come out of our mouth? I know everybody puts their foot in their mouth every now and then. I’ve gotten rather accustomed to the taste of mine. But what about the words that you say regularly? Or perhaps you’re not aware of the impact your words have on others.
When I was a kid, I heard the school phrase, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” Sadly, that phrase is just not true.
I am convinced that words can do much damage—especially emotional and spiritual damage. Proverbs 18:14 says that your spirit will sustain your infirmity, but it’s not so easy to do that when you have a wounded spirit. A broken bone can heal, but many people never heal from the wounds made by words.
At the same time, words can build up and do great good. Proverbs 16:24 says that pleasant words are like honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones. You can impact people powerfully by the words you say. Think through the opportunity you have to exert your Self-Leadership in what you say.
To help you capitalize on that opportunity, here are three ways you can look at the words you say and how you can choose the words you say.
In 1 Samuel 30, David and his crew came back to his home base at Ziklag, only to find that the Amalekites burned the city with fire, stole their goods, and took all their families captive. David’s men were inconsolable, and David was greatly concerned when his men talked about stoning him. But he worked to encourage himself in the Lord his God.
There will be times that you will need to do the same thing as David: you will need to encourage yourself in the Lord. But what exactly does that mean? And how do you do it?
Different translations say it in different ways.
ESV: “David strengthened himself in the Lord his God.”
NIV: “David found strength in the Lord his God.”
MSG: “David strengthened himself with trust in his God.”
But regardless of what the phrase means, these translations don’t help you understand how to do it. Using Psalm 13 as a model, here is a three-step process you can use to encourage yourself in the Lord.
Everyone wants to hear someone else thank them. But how often are you expressing gratitude to others?
You might think it will sound forced or cheesy if you thank someone else, but you probably just feel awkward saying it. If someone else has genuinely thanked you, then you know how good that feels when someone thanks you. Since you want to hear it, learn how to overcome that awkwardness about expressing gratitude to the people around you.
Here are three guidelines for expressing gratitude.
What words do you say about yourself? When you are talking to others, how do you describe yourself? And when you are alone, what comes out of your mouth? With the words you say, do you bless or curse yourself?
You may not even be aware of how you speak about yourself. But your words have consequences. The Scripture says out of your mouth proceed blessing and cursing (James 3:10). So which one do you use on yourself?
Here are 14 questions to ask yourself to find out whether you bless or curse yourself with your words.
It’s one thing to tell yourself or others what you will do someday. It’s another thing to do it. That’s why it’s important to do what you say you will do.
You have dreams and goals you want to see realized. You may even have things on your heart that God has told you to do. As you know, words will not make those things happen. Action will.
By taking action, here are three results that will happen—if you do what you say you will do.
As a leader, you want your team to consistently improve their performance as a team. But a team needs constructive feedback to produce consistent improvement. So you will help your team stay on track if you provide them with compassionate and positive course corrections.
Instead of pointing out only what your team is doing wrong, give them constructive feedback in a way that they don’t feel stupid about what they’re doing wrong. When you correct your team, what you say matters as much as how you say it.
Your brand health will depend on your culture health. And your culture health will depend on the tone you set as a leader. As the old adage goes, you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.
Here are three pointers for giving your team constructive feedback for their consistent improvement.
What you expect will come your way. It is a biblical principle: you will become whatever you believe in your heart (Proverbs 23:7). That’s why your self-talk is so important.
Fear and faith are two opposite concepts. But they both are self-fulfilling. Both imply a belief system that will support their fulfillment.
We have a choice to make. We can either choose to listen to faith or listen to fear. What we listen to will determine how we think. And how we act. And what we say.
Here are three ways your self-talk will affect your life.
It’s important for you to take stock of your life. You should review what’s happened, so you can retool for the future. But don’t stay focused on the past. And especially don’t say three unhelpful words to yourself.
When we’re reviewing the past, we sometimes beat ourselves up about what didn’t happen. But that doesn’t help the past. It doesn’t help our present. And it sure doesn’t help our future.
While I am guilty of saying these three unhelpful words to myself, I am trying to weed them out of my speech pattern. And I hope you will too.
Do you have your priorities in the right place? Is what you say is most important to you really what is most important to you?
We all have good intentions. But we also know that the road to hell is paved with those good intentions. So are we really putting our priorities into practice?
Here is a quick three-step test to find out if you are putting your priorities into practice.
No one ever wants to have to say hard things. We don’t want to have those direct and difficult conversations. Where we fire someone. Or correct someone. Or have to tell them “No.”
But we show our genuine love for someone when we are willing to say hard things. Because we want the best for the people on our team. Whether it’s our family or our firm.
Digging into Proverbs 13:24, we find three thoughts to guide those difficult conversations.