We were over 1,200 miles offshore and in trouble. The goal was to row our boat across the Atlantic Ocean to the Caribbean island of Antigua but we were being pushed south by mother nature and were utterly helpless to her power. At this rate, we feared we would not only miss Antigua but potentially end up in Venezuela! We had a hard choice to make – do we go with the flow of mother nature and accept a southerly trajectory or do we attempt to cross the swell that is pushing us south in an attempt to gradually inch our way west towards Antigua?
Our choice was influenced by our capability. It is not humanly possible to row a fully loaded 23 ft rowing boat against the prevailing conditions of the ocean so we were going to continue moving south. However rather than just fully go with this, our decision was to attempt to take a few degrees off a due south heading so that we were at least making some progress west. This choice was a little more dangerous in that we had to partially cross the swell. It was also a LOT harder as it meant much slower speeds, very difficult rowing conditions and frustratingly slow progress. Whether our choice was the “right” one or not, who knows but we did eventually manage to make landfall in Antigua after 85 days on the open ocean.
Small degrees of change can have significant impact not only on our direction in life and in business but also on the destinations we hit along the way and the outcomes we ultimately accomplish. One of these subtle degrees of change I see regularly in my work (and observe with myself), is the language people use.
I often hear the words “I need to” or “I should”. For example I need to exercise more or I should spend less time on my phone. The words need and should carry an external perspective. As if we “need” to do something because it is expected of us by some other person or society. The word “should” is the first part of the word “shoulder”. The word “should” can consciously and unconsciously bring a burden that we carry and weighs on us.
A small degree of change here can be to stop using the words need and should and replace them with words that carry more authenticity, power, energy and intention. I don’t need to exercise more, I “GET TO” exercise more (thank you @JackKavanagh for this). It’s not that I should spend less time on my phone but instead, I “WANT TO” spend less time on my phone or I “WILL” spend less time on my phone.
Language matters and the words we use (both spoken and unspoken) not only give an indication of our state of mind but can be a fundamental degree of change that significantly impacts both our journey in life and in business as well as the destinations we arrive to. A simple experiment you could do on this is for 3 days, try to be very conscious about the words you use and take note of any difference you observe both in yourself and those around you.