I came across a wonderful suggestion recently from my friend and colleague Leanne Buttrose. I asked her to write a little note about this.
Thought you would enjoy it as our Monthly Monday Motivation for May.
“How to change your energy and everyone around you by changing one little word!
In the year 2000 I was introduced to a simple and yet incredibly powerful change in my life. I removed the word “BUT” from my vocabulary. At the time when I learned this, I didn’t realise what this change would mean to me, and literally hundreds of people I have shared this concept with.
The greatest challenge was to not replace it with a “but” in disguise. We know these words as – however, although, nonetheless – just to begin with. You would know many others I’m sure.
“But” simply means; everything I said before this word is null and void. For example, the party was great but the food could have been better. So was the party great or not?
I found I became very conscious of my sentences and that “but” was my way to buy time and think. It was what I used instead of a pause or full stop in a conversation or when presenting.
The most profound discovery was in my written words. I used “but” in emails, documents and papers and it gave them a negative overtone when that was not my intention. I used it in sales pitches and PowerPoint presentations when trying to make a point. I was a “but-aholic”!
So how did I change this? I replaced the word “but” with “and”. While at first it felt grammatically incorrect, it forced me to stop and think about why I even wanted to say the word.
I found in conversations I started to pause, think and then continue without using the word. In written communication, it forced me to rethink the whole sentence because when you remove the use of ‘but’ you often have to phrase the entire sentence very differently.
Here’s an example: ” I’m sorry I didn’t finish the report, but I received your email too late.”
Instead you might say: “I’m sorry I didn’t finish the report. I received your email too late, and I will do my best to finalise it by the end of this week.”
Leaders that I have shared this with now write their messages to their customers and staff coming from the “Yes… and” perspective. They have found it easier to create a more positive energy through their communications.”
WOW! To think removing just three little letters from our vocabulary can hold that much wonderful power.
A great way to make sure you’re following “Yes… and” is to exercise self-awareness. Self-awareness is the secret weapon for lasting habit change.