Intentionally Choose Words to Shape Your Career and Life

Named by Inc. as one of the top 100 leadership speakers, Shelley Row, P.E., is an engineer and former government and association executive. Shelley’s leadership work focuses on developing insightful leaders who can see beyond the data.

“I’m not worried. I’m not worried. It will be fine.” The self-talk raged in my head, and it showed up in conversations with friends.

I thought I was being positive by repeating “It will be fine” but my brain heard “Worry” over and over again, so it gave me worry. Words matter.

As an insightful leader, the words you repeat to yourself have more impact than those you say to others.  Your self-talk affects your outlook, how you show up to others, and your demeanor.

I was reminded of the power of words during a retreat I attended some time ago. At the retreat, we were encouraged to write out the kind of life we wanted to live and design a business to support that life. I thought, “If I don’t want ‘worry,’ what do I want?”   Easy. I’d like it to be easy to grow my business. I started feeding “easy” into my brain. And I bought a Staples “Easy®” button as a daily reminder.

Words matter. Choose yours carefully and positively.


Here are some steps you can take to use words to get what you want.

  1. Choose positive words. Choose positive words that reflect the state of mind you want rather than the state of mind you don’t want. Instead of saying, “I’m not ________” say “I am _______.” Leave the “not” behind. Your brain responds to the words you say repeatedly. Whether it’s worry, easy, hard, peaceful, or frustrated, your brain creates what you tell it.
  2. Repeat and repeat again. The brain pays attention to repetition. The more you state something, particularly out loud, the more likely your brain will pay attention. The more you say positive words, intentionally, the more your brain embeds it.
  3. Reminders. It’s difficult to create a new habit and eliminate an old one. That’s why you need reminders to force you and your brain to remember the new words. My “Easy” button made all the difference. It is a daily reminder of my new, positive word.  What will remind you of the positive words you choose? The more reminders, the more likely you are to use and believe them.

Words matter. Choose yours carefully and positively. Leave the “not” behind. Surround yourself with reminders. It’s like pressing the Easy® button.

Want new articles before they get published? Subscribe to our Awesome Newsletter.


Advice from top Career specialists


Articles about the Public Sector


Public Sector Trends

Pin It on Pinterest