Whenever you open your mouth to speak, you set your tongue on fire with the power to build or destroy. Effective leaders are creators, not demolition experts.
The heat that ignites what you put on your lips comes from what you hold in your heart, and what you hold in your heart will either create or limit what’s possible. The words you speak reveal your heart’s condition — a good indicator of whether your actions will work for or against you.
My client Jim was telling me about an upcoming meeting with a disgruntled customer. A lot was riding on the meeting. If it went well, his company would get a flood of new business; if it didn’t, his company stood to lose hundreds of thousands of dollars in existing business. He was feeling pressure to perform well. His first comment was, “This is going to be a difficult meeting.” His face and body registered anxiety.
I asked for the story behind the need for the visit, including Jim’s intentions for the meeting. He told me a story of missed deadlines, inaccurate information, and sloppy workmanship on the part of his organization. All of which, he said, was true. But as he discussed the problems the customer had experienced, Jim also expressed empathy for his client. He spoke at length about what his company was doing to change things so that no client would ever experience such poor service again. Jim focused on what he would say, the assurances he would provide, and the documentation he would bring to the meeting as proof that he was a man of his word — that they could count on him and his company to come through for them in the future. By the time he’d finished, he was filled with positive energy, ready to jump on a plane and meet his client face-to-face.
What started out as a meeting that was “going to be difficult” turned into a meeting where genuine empathy would be expressed and where solutions and personal guarantees would be given. What began in feelings of fear turned into feelings of power and energy and a deep personal commitment to fulfill on promises made. I was convinced that Jim’s natural optimism, combined with clear positive intentions for the meeting, would make all the difference between success and failure.
By clarifying his intentions (the condition of his heart), he was able to interpret the upcoming meeting in a more favorable light. This generated possibility that ultimately led to personal success and significant business gains for his company. Had he not considered his intentions, or had his intentions been for selfish gain, fear might have reigned at the meeting, thereby seriously hindering chances for the positive outcome he enjoyed.
Possibility is created when your heart’s condition (your intention) is positive. When you focus on positive intentions, instead of your fears, the words coming out of your mouth propel you toward possibilities.
Heighten your awareness and become a leader who consistently creates positive outcomes by doing the following:
- Monitor your conversations. Become consciously aware of the words that fall from your lips. Then ask yourself, “Do my words create or limit possibility?”
- Before holding a meeting of any kind, first review your own positive intentions. Be sure you can articulate those intentions, and then share them in your meeting.
- To get a positive outcome at your next meeting, identify how you will remind yourself to review your positive intentions before each meeting so that you can share them when you meet.
Author: Mary Jane Mapes, The Aligned Leader Institute, LLC
*The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Indiana Society of Association Executives (ISAE).
About Mary Jane Mapes
Mary Jane Mapes believes that People Ignite Greatness. As the creator of The P.I.G. Perspective – Taking Relationships and Business Results Higher Through Deeper Connections™, Mary Jane Mapes is fiercely committed to guiding leaders and sales and service professionals in industries ranging from healthcare to financial services to direct selling companies to increase sales, productivity, and profitability through personal responsibility. Success takes root to grow and prosper when People Ignite Greatness, first within themselves and then within others. With infectious energy, humor and authenticity, Mary Jane Mapes weaves a memorable narrative that resonates within the hearts and actions of every audience member, long after the standing ovation has subsided. Each year, this in-demand speaker presents at association meetings, corporations, and conventions, stimulating audiences to achieve new levels of professional and personal growth.