Posts Taged language

The Language of Time

iStock_000069185021Kenneth Burke once said about humans that “Man is the symbol-using (symbol-making, symbol-misusing) animal.”  His statement is probably the most accurate when we talk about time and how we use it.  Here are three examples.

The opposite of life is not work.  It’s easy to get upset about a lack of work-life balance.  Unfortunately, the opposite of life is not work.  It’s death.  The opposite of work is non-work.  Really, isn’t the choice among work, recreation, spiritual, community, personal wellbeing, etc.?

Balance is not a static state.  We think about have work-life balance as if it were a set of weights and measures.  Take some time from this side of the scale and put it on the other and then you’ve got balance.  Unfortunately, time does not stand still.  After all, time keeps moving on.  The minute after you think you’ve achieved a state of balance, you lose it.

We don’t control time.  Time continues to do what it does despite our best efforts to manage it.  When we give up the futile effort to manage time and switch our focus to managing what we do with our time, then powerful shifts happen.

If we are really listening to Kenneth Burke, when we change our language we change our possibilities.  For example:

  • Pay attention to what you are doing. You can be so into the flow that time concerns go away.
  • Think about time as flowing. What does balance mean to you now?
  • Take a long-term perspective. How’s your balance over the course of a month?  A year?

Changing our language is not an easy task.  We’ve spent a lifetime creating these images and relationships in our heads.  How will you start to be less concerned with balance?

 

 

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What’s More Powerful Than Language?

Coaches find powerful languageOne client this week brought to mind the words from Marianne Williamson about “Our Greatest Fear.” Marianne wrote:

It is our light not our darkness that most frightens us

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.

Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

It is our light not our darkness that most frightens us.

We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?

Those are powerful words.

I kept getting other reminders on how important words are.  Just imagine:

  • Martin Luther’s 95 Theses without the written word.
  • Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg address without those 267 words.
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. delivering his 16-minute “I have a Dream” address without words.

I’m sure you can think of your own historical examples.  Words are also incredibly important in our everyday lives as well.  Think about:

  • Your telephone time today.
  • Your emails and text messages.
  • Face-to-face conversations.

When I forget the power of words, my clients keep doing things to remind me.  My clients think that they are describing their reality. At some point during every coaching call, they come to realize that they are creating their reality.

When we describe our future, we create a possibility. When we establish goals, our words shape our future.  When we speak, we are so powerful.  We need to recognize that power.

Those are powerful words.

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