Have you ever had a desire to learn to speak a foreign language? Some, if not many of you are already bilingual or multilingual, if that is you, you have my deepest respect as you can communicate with others in this world in a way that many of us simply cannot. Not without Google Translate or some other app.
Learning to speak Spanish, French, German, Italian, Hebrew, Chinese, Japanese or any other foreign language is an asset to be valued for sure. But what about learning to speak and communicate in ways that lead us to the mutual success of ourselves and others? The value found in learning to speak words that lift others up instead of tearing them down is found in learning the language of success.
And for some, learning the language of success is as foreign as learning Arabic or Russian. Whether it is because this is the way we were talked to all of our lives or because we try and use words to show our dominance or superiority, or for a host of many other reasons, it is never too late to learn a new and foreign language, the language of success.
While participating in a meeting with an executive who I had just met that day, I was caught off guard by his consistent use of profanity and in the way that he talked down to his team during the meeting. The executive had left the session a few minutes early and as I was packing up and saying my goodbyes, one of the team members apologized on behalf of her boss. She must have sensed that I had taken exception to the tone of the meeting and her boss’s apparent lack of self-awareness about what he said and how he said it. She offered, “That is just the way it is around here.”
Asking a few more questions I found out that morale was low, employee turnover was high, collaboration didn’t exist, and it was his way or the highway. Her next statement inspired this column, “Having him learn to speak to us differently would be like teaching him a foreign language.”
What does that foreign language sound like? What is the language of success? Well, I am glad you asked. It sounds like hope and encouragement, it sounds like firm but fair, it sounds like gratitude and appreciation, it sounds like coaching, mentoring and guidance, and it sounds like silence and listening.
What does this foreign language look like? What does the language of success look like? Again, I am glad you asked. It looks like eye contact, it looks like engaged body language, it looks like belief, it looks like confidence, it looks like abundance and it looks like support.
What will I gain by learning this foreign language? What will I gain by learning the language of success? Wow, you really do ask great questions. The gains will be important to you and your organization, and they will change the lives of everyone you speak this new language to. You will gain respect, stronger relationships, greater morale, lower employee turnover, buy-in to new ideas, higher productivity, and recognition as a company that people want to work for, a friend that anyone would want to be a friend of, and a family that others wish they belonged to.
The world is hard enough, we do not have to make it harder by speaking words of dysfunction and hurt. Instead, we can learn a new language, and we can become the difference maker in our family, in our social circles, and at work by speaking the language of success.
So how about you? Are you someone who already speaks words of hope and encouragement? Or do you need a new talk track and learn how to lift others up? I would love to hear your story at email@example.com and when we can learn how to succeed by changing our language, it really will be a better than good week.
Michael Norton is a resident of Highlands Ranch, the chief revenue officer at Eventus Solutions Group, a strategic consultant and a business and personal coach.
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