Some words matter more than others.
Use your words well.
Anyone who has ever heard the words “I’m disappointed in you” knows the power of words to cut.
And anyone who has ever heard the words “I am better for having known you” knows the power of words to heal.
“I appreciate you”
“Your opinion matters”
“I love your passion”
“I see how much you are doing”
“I’m so sorry you experienced that”
“I’m grateful for your contribution”
“You make everyone feel welcome”
“I care about you”
“You are the glue that keeps us all together”
“You are inspirational”
Sometimes it seems that in business we are afraid that speaking powerful words somehow gives others our power. But the power of words that matter is the stuff of lasting legacy.
We often think of legacy in terms of the thing we’ve built or founded…our life’s work. But across time lasting legacies are often about the simple act of speaking words that matter over people who need to hear them at a specific moment in time. You have to be paying attention to catch these moments.
When I was at University and struggling with finding meaning, my dad wrote me a letter (the only one he ever sent me). It was a single sheet of white paper with line after line of what he loves and admires about me. It made the difference to my staying and finishing what I’d started.
A well-placed and heartfelt “I believe in you” or “you are really good at that” or “thank you for all you carry” can change a moment or a lifetime for someone.
Be a leader, a human, a colleague, a partner who is generous with words that matter.
Use them well.