The subject of this month’s blog is going to be the importance of our words and how their use can have a direct impact on those around us, our own feelings and beliefs and even how they reach wider afield and can literally ripple around the world.

Have you ever agreed to something knowing that you won’t follow through? Spoken critically to yourself? Said something harsh to someone you love? Or got caught up in gossip? I certainly have over the years and I always regretted it afterwards.

That regret became part of my story, I used to believe I was someone who was unreliable, unkind, untrustworthy, mean… and so it went on.

This all changed when I read The Four Agreements (view on Amazon), which is a wonderful book containing four practical rules to guide you to personal freedom which have been passed down the generations of the Toltec. If you haven’t heard of the Toltecs, they were a Mexican society who set out to explore and conserve the knowledge and practices of their elders.

The first agreement is to be impeccable with your word. The idea is, we must acknowledge how important our choice of words can be. They are so powerful, we can literally create or destroy with them.

The word is not just a sound or a written symbol. The word is a force; it is the power you have to express and communicate, to think, and thereby to create the events in your life. The word is the most important tool you have as a human; it is the tool of magic.

Excerpt from The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz

With any kind of magic though we have good magic and bad magic. The good magic is where we use our words to encourage, be kind, honest. Literally speaking with integrity and using our words to create happiness and opportunity for ourselves and those around us.

Whereas we can also use our words as bad magic, to manipulate, deceive and cause hurt. We don’t need to look far to see how our words can be used to present misinformation or spread hate and fear. Hitler was able to convince others to go to war and commit acts of violence all around the world, taking the lives of millions using just his words. Today with the power of the internet and media (through newspapers, television, radio and social media etc) we can spread misinformation, fear and hate to divide society literally in seconds.

As such, perhaps more so than ever, it is so important we start to be impeccable with our word. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your words in the direction of truth and love.

The Ultimate Coach | Being your word

In the book The Ultimate Coach (view on Amazon), there is a chapter about Being your word. This really resonated with me as it illustrates the importance of the words we use today. Steve Hardison points out that people in society for the majority don’t do what they say. For example people will say “Let’s go to lunch on Tuesday”. Knowing it won’t happen. He also points out that today if someone does what they say and and holds others accountable for what they say, that person looks crazy, demanding and excessive. But if you can’t count on yourself, who can you count on?

Steve uses an analogy to distinguish being your word, which likens our use of words as either verbal inflation or a verbal gold standard. The gold standard is where in economic terms a country limits the amount of money printed to match the sum of the value of gold held in the vaults. This assures the person holding the money, it has a real, tangible value. Whereas when a country starts printing money to pay for its spending it causes inflation and reduces the purchasing power of the printed money.

He suggests we live in a society where verbal inflation is high, this means we can’t count on what people say, there is a chance it will or won’t happen. We have become used to this and often have a back up plan in place in case someone isn’t true to their word. He encourages everyone to only offer a verbal gold standard where people can trust in the value of your word. It is like when you speak, you are only spitting out gold bars. People can count on what you say as they know it is backed by your integrity and commitment to be your word.

In his book Steve writes

“What I speak matters – meaning my words materialise something. They literally matter – or create mass. No one is one hundred percent but if I say something, the odds are really high that I am going to do it. If I don’t, I clean it up. What I notice is that when people honour their word like it really means something, their lives work better.”

A gold standard coaching relationship

I agree with Steve’s statement, as a life coach I explain and train my clients about the importance of their word from the outset. I help them to understand that to really get the most out of our time together and the coaching relationship, we must offer a verbal gold standard. This means we can have from the beginning a solid foundation where we can have the utmost trust and faith in each other. If I say I am going to do something, they know in no uncertain terms it is going to happen. And if they identify a step towards a goal or habit change and commit to taking action, then we both know those words will lead to action, not just disappear into the atmosphere and mean nothing more. It is only with action towards our goals are we able to make lasting change. Without action nothing will change, that is why it is so important to be our word.

This kind of coaching relationship has lead to great changes, achievement and shifts in people’s own beliefs about themselves. It is also something that we can live by on a daily basis. At the start of this newsletter I wrote I used to believe I was someone who was unreliable, unkind, untrustworthy and mean all because I was not being careful with how I used my words. Now I try to live a life where every word I say offers a verbal gold standard and uses white magic to bring more goodness into the world.

It really has made a huge difference to how I feel about myself, now I am someone who is honest, trustworthy, kind, caring and my words are backed by my integrity, discipline and desire to make sure they mean something.

Once you start being impeccable with your word, the changes in how you see yourself and interact with those around you, really does have a paradigm shifting effect.

Let's use our words to create not destroy.