In recently reading 'Leaders Eat Last' by Simon Sinek I was struck by something he wrote, talking about how Marines are instructed to change their vocabulary. No more 'I', 'me', or 'my'. Instead it has to become 'we', 'us' and 'together'. Marines are trained not to protect themselves but the other marines they are fighting alongside.
This is not an original thought. Many have written about this before. Yet on this occasion it stopped me and challenged me afresh.
My initial thought was to reflect on meetings where people have done this. They made it about themselves, their position, their point of view. Phrases like...I think...I want...I would...This is my...If I don't get...me, me, me.
But that is so unfair and wrong. Jesus tells me to take the log out of my own eye before I begin to tell others to remove the speck in theirs. How guilty can I be of sitting in meetings and not properly considering the 'we' and focusing mostly on just 'me'? So, I made a decision to work harder at changing my vocabulary from me to we, from I to us. There isn't a need for me to preface every sentence I speak in a meeting with 'I think' as the reason for me sharing, as I am there to do just that, bring my thoughts and opinions for the benefit of the whole.
Do I believe in what I am saying or not? 'We', 'together' and 'us' help build a greater sense of belonging. They build trust, which in turn builds team. And there's my challenge. If I don't believe in it, then sticking 'I think' at the front of it will not make it sound any better. So I am working at the change. In a recent meeting when I heard myself say 'I think' I just stopped talking, said I'd forgotten what I was going to say just to give myself time to reframe the sentence without the two word intro.
Perhaps there are other phrases we should work harder at not using....what would you want to see eliminated?