I listen to several podcasts regularly to support my growth as a coach and to bring new perspectives into my work with clients. Today I want to highlight a few key learnings from the Lively Show, and specifically this episode that featured Adam Braun, founder of Pencils of Promise.
Adam, like all of Jess Lively’s guests, is inspiring. In his interview, he paints a picture of his journey to coin the phrase “for purpose organizations.” In its simplest sense, he tells a story of being shunned by a prominent individual immediately upon positioning his organization as non-profit. In this conversation, he realized that he was calling out a separation from a specific end goal (profit) rather than leading with his organization’s purpose and mission. That experience caused him to re-evaluate the downfall in setting his organization against something with one word choice - non. That one moment, one interaction, pushed him to adjust positioning of his organization as for purpose, a revolutionary idea at the time.
The episode continues to highlight easy ways that we, as humans, build separations simply by our language choice. Many of us orient ourselves towards definitions of what we do not want rather than what we do want. We focus on what makes us different or separate rather than what makes us unique.
A few examples.
Many of us hold a value to be “nonjudgemental,” a term that signifies a character trait we do not want (judgement). We can draw the same meaning by leading with what we do want to uphold, which is acceptance. Sit with this for a moment. I am accepting holds far more power as a statement than I am nonjudgemental. Anchoring on what we do not want is an easy decision that lacks impact. Real work comes from defining what we do want. Even where we do not have a sense of what we want for ourselves, simple word choices like this builds a muscle that trains us to see what we do want.
Similarly, Adam challenges listeners to remove “I am jealous” from our vocabularies. This language choice originates with a scarcity mindset. Consider instead choosing “I am happy for you,” a declaration rooted in abundance. A positive language choice, even in reaction to life circumstances, leads to a positive mindset. Our thinking (positive or negative) is the baseline for our emotions which in turn determine our actions. These actions result in outcomes that more often than do not validate our original thinking. Designing our thinking to be positive will create positive outcomes.
How can you adjust your language to highlight abundance rather than scarcity. What becomes possible with abundant thinking?