The power of language
Every time I start a coaching conversation with a client I pay attention to their language. Why? Because the words we use are a direct window into our belief structure and the forces that are holding us back.
I was skeptical when I first heard this, but here is a simple example from a recent coaching conversation to demonstrate the power of this concept:
Again, is this an innocent statement? Yes and no. Let’s compare this with an ‘upgraded’ version:
Client: “I want to meditate and do my journaling in the morning.”
ONE word — just four letters — and it changes everything.
“I have to” translates into a desperation-filled energy. It is filled with white-knuckling self-discipline. It requires an abundance of effort and pain in order to get through it.
The fascinating paradox of life is that the more we “have to” do something, the less we want to.
See if this is true for your life. Do you have to do a homework assignment, call a family member or send an important email at work? Now, if you are being honest with yourself, will any of these actions be easy, if you’re thinking of them this way? Probably not.
Now contrast this with “I want to,” which is filled with inspiration, and shows an appreciation for the number one factor in life; the factor we all take for granted at some point in our lives.
The power of choice
There are very few things in life we actually “have to” do. Seriously, think about it.
By saying “I have to” do something, you are not acknowledging the power of choice you have as a human being on this Earth. You are literally saying that someone else has decided for you.
By saying “I want to,” you are choosing choice.
High-performance tip: Next time you find yourself doing an “I have to,” change your language to “I want to” and notice how much easier the work flows.
This is just a window into how powerful language is for understanding our belief structures.
Now, what does all of this mean for the “I’m so busy” trap we began with?
The hard truth about “I’m so busy”
We all are choosing what we spend time on by what we prioritize. When you say, “I’m too busy to read,” you are not acknowledging that you have already made a choice, whether consciously or not. You decided that other areas of your life are more of a priority than reading.
Every human on this Earth has the same 24 hours in a day.
4 ways “I’m so busy” is making you a victim
When you say “I’m so busy,” what you’re actually saying is:
- My life is out of control.
As in: “I have all of this stuff on my plate and I don’t have the time to do it all. The stress is building and the anxiety is overwhelming!”
- I am avoiding the pain that comes from saying no to other people’s requests.
As in: “I’m telling someone I’m so busy because it’s easier than the pain that will come from telling them no.”
- I am not responsible for the choices in my life.
As in: “I will say that I’m busy because it’s easier than taking responsibility for my choices and the time I spend watching Netflix.”
- I am seeking to connect to you over a complaint.
As in: “Let’s both complain and help each other go deeper into a victim state because that’s how I habitually connect with others.”
Don’t be a victim
Lack of responsibility, avoidance of mental pain, connecting over complaints and neglecting the power of choice are the foundation of victimhood.
So I ask you once more… Are you busy?
Or are you fully engaged right now, and have a schedule full of activities you are passionate about?
One-word changes everything.
Next time you notice yourself saying you are “so busy,” take a moment and consider what you are really communicating.