The Beginning (Part 2) - The Power of Words
Updated: Feb 9
When a person starts to talk about their dreams, it’s as if something bubbles up from within. Their eyes brighten, their face glows, and you can feel the excitement in their words. –JOHN MAXWELL
The Importance of Words
We all know that words hold meaning. Meaning is the foundation of language. Words also influence ideas: your ideas about yourself and about your place in the world.
But did you know that individual words have the potential to alter the way your brain performs? And, that there are specific words that have the power to affect the physical expression of your genes?
According to researchers Andrew Newberg, M.D. and Mark Robert Waldman, positive words support the expression of genes promoting the brain's cognitive functioning. At the same time, negative language disrupts the genes that play a part in protecting you from stress. Choosing your words is not just wise advice from your mother—science has proven that your words truly have an impact on your emotional and physical well-being.
Words also have a real effect on how others respond to you. Because words have meaning and trigger emotional centers in the brain, how you talk about your ideas will produce specific reactions in people.
This cycle of cause and effect, called "priming", starts with how you perceive the value of what you have to offer. The priming cycle goes like this: how you perceive anything determines how you experience it, and how you experience something directly impacts how you talk about its value.
The words you use signal others how they should understand the importance of what you are telling them, influencing both their perception and their response. If the information you share is lackluster because your perception of its value isn't certain, people will pick up on that uncertainty and question if what you are sharing is valuable to them. But if the story told is confident in expressing value, and answers the question of how it will make a difference, then the perception shifts.
Example of a perception shift
Awhile ago, a friend of mine launched his own company. He is a big advocate of adventure and health and created a nutrition bar with locally sourced, wholesome ingredients. When first developing the concept for his idea, he wrestled with how his product would stand out in an already saturated marketplace. When talking about his approach, he used words that primed others to doubt his merit because deep down, his perception about the worth of his idea was not rooted in confidence.
After discovering the Relevant You and The Five Questions of Perception guidebook to uncover the words that gave confidence and energy to his plan, he began telling a more genuine and exciting story of his product. Within six months, his company grew from having a few local sales to doubling financial projections. Ultimately he was able to expand his distribution to several states.
So, what happened? My friend first changed his perception, shifting from uncertain to certain, and then began telling a compelling and authentic story of how his product makes a difference to others in a way that primed them to relate and believe. The result was that people wanted his product because they could imagine how it would make a difference to them in real ways.
This cycle of priming is true whether you're selling a product, pitching an investor, organizing community outreach, or interviewing for a job. Ground zero for building a reputation as a difference maker starts with how you perceive yourself and the value of what you offer.
Perception determines experience and experience decides value.
It’s important to remember that this is not about hype, puffery, hoopla, or being boastful. It’s about making that shift from agreeing that the anchor of average is just fine, and deciding you are going to pursue your best to establish an extraordinary reputation that’s distinctly yours.
The first step in building a reputation that shines is to discover and learn how to use those words that give rise to genuine excitement within yourself when talking about the purpose and potential of what you offer. The focus of The Five Questions of Perception is to guide you to discover the best within you, so you know with confidence what makes you stand out and rise above the rest.
Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.- DR. SEUSS
How to get the most out of The Five Questions of Perception
The Five Questions of Perception are the questions people need to be answered to know how you'll make a difference to them and how what you offer is different from that of anyone else.
Because of the importance of these questions in quickly establishing your relevancy, it’s vital that you thoughtfully work through each section with the intent of discovering genuine ways to describe how you are a difference maker.
Often, the details or context that support a more energizing story are overlooked in favor of generic terms and data to demonstrate your relevancy. This reliance on common and ordinary terms or vocabulary does not lend itself to creating a vibrant, meaningful, or memorable narrative. Words matter when building and nurturing your reputation. This is why the first focus area focus to recognize your best is to uncover those words that create light in your eyes.
The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.- MARCEL PROUST
Recommendations to get the most out of this system:
There are no shortcuts. If you want to stand out and rise above, you need to know what you stand for, and how this will benefit others.
You’ll get out of this what you put into it. Nominal effort will bring insufficient insight. Diligent effort will be rewarded with powerful shifts in perception.
For these new insights to take hold, it is essential to use these words and new ways of describing your idea every single day. Switch out the old and inadequate modes and adopt the new, more relevant terms that differentiate you. This is how perception is changed, and reputation is nurtured.
Download The Beginning - The Journaling Page and take time to print and ponder the journal prompts to continue this section’s lessons.