Jan 222012

Language can be extremely powerful. But using too much language is far less powerful than saying something simply and succinctly. We have all seen the corporate mission statement created by committee, which rambles for more than 30 words. Does any mission statement this wordy matter to employees? or customers? or shareholders? Does it change the organization’s actions and outlook?

Here’s an example from Delta Airlines:

We—Delta’s employees, customers, and community partners together form a force for positive local and global change, dedicated to bettering standards of living and the environment where we and our customers live and work.

I think more companies need to adopt a simplified mission like “Delight our Customers” rather than the run-on sentence.

I would like you to pick one word — just one word — that helps you envision a better you — and write that word everywhere.  Put your word on both sides of a business card that sits in the middle of your wallet. Put it on a neon index card that sits prominently on your desk. But another neon card with that the one word in your car where you will see it every day. Put cards with your one key word in your gym bag, on your nightstand, by the coffee maker, and on the bathroom counter. Make this one word your screen saver on your PC monitor and have it appear on your smartphone home screen too.

Then, live your life for the next six weeks, keeping that one word in the foreground and the background of your mind. Every conversation, every action needs to happen through the transparent lens of this one word. The word should impact most of the things that you will do. Take a few minutes to review how you are doing every time you see your word.

What word should you pick? Look over this list and find the one that matters to you right now, the one that will make an impact:

Know, Live, Be, Laugh, Restoration, Compassion, Abundance, Love, Generosity, Honesty, Create, Motivate, Dominate, Simplify, Inspire, Connect, Focus, Create, Smile, Lean, Zoom, Fearless, Connect, Grow, Excel, Understand, Connect, Empower, Build, Body, Write, Family, Direction, Joy, Learn, Grow, Live, Spearhead, Inspire, Ask, Receive, Slowly, Clarify, Athletic, Communicate, Expansion, Clarity, Passion, Focus, Delegate, Innovation, Collaboration, Gratitude, Authenticity, God, Action, Learn, Commit, Focus, Creativity, Stories, Communication, Courage, Trust, Embark, Focus, Manage, Initiate, Write, Finish, Deepen, Plan, Clear, Test, Construct, Celebrate, Momentum, Love, Intuition, Congruence, Forgive, Grandchildren, Write, Expand, Optimism, Vision, Innovation, Action, Perseverance, Well-being, Manifest, Discipline, Choose, Ask, Listen, Reflect, Believe, Seek, Achieve, Share, Simplify, Enjoy, Collaborate, Stretch, Optimism, Process, Balance, Believe, Celebrate, Study, Strengthen, Stretch, Less, Faith, Travel, Publish, Simplify, Listen, Dare, Immersion, Passion, Create, Motivate, Love, Minimize, Grow, Serve, Prepare, Pray, Adapt, Change, Sustain, Produce, Promote, Prosper, Ask, Listen, Move, Learn, Invest, Create, Connect, Story, Inspiration, Consistency, Growth, Over-Deliver, Fun, Revenue/Profit, Value, Results, Listen, Duty, Streamline, Profess, Evangelize, Productivity, Persistence, Prioritize, Show Up, Engage, Encourage, Discipline, Give, Learn, 100%, Connect, Collaborate, Co-Create, Focused, Ordered, Purpose, Effort, Focus, Growth, Simplify, Perseverance, Balance, Action, Think, Do, Review, Hope, Relationships, Content, Value, Ritual, Trust, Magic, Listen, Smart, Create, Commit, Concentrate, Complete, Plan, Focus, Follow-through, Build, Recurring, Revenue, Do, Learn, Share, Learn, Write, Edify, Create, Consistency, Call, Question, Meditate, Respond, Empathize, Inspire, Empower, Shape-up, Do, Limitations, Fearless, Invest, Presence, Strengthening, Stretching, Sustaining, Authentic, Journal, Present, In-Person, Reclamation, Learn, Teach, Grow, Create, Collaborate, Challenge, Focus, Create, Refine, Focus, Calm, Clarity, Sharing, Listen, Smart, Mission, Create, Likable, Ethical, Enhancing, Invite, Value, Ease, Begin, Live, Grow, Refocus, Improve, Do, Balance, Conclusion, Enlightenment, Commit, Challenge, Triumph, Listen, Follow-through, Self-Awareness, Condense, Play, Dedication, Belief, Stretch, Energy, Ownership, Delight, Finish, Strong, Challenge, Focus, Austerity, Build, Ship, Disrupt, Produce, Flow, Collaborate, Reach, Sleep, Wonder, Discover, Serve, Iterate, Reflect, Rebuild, Passion, Family, Write, Video, Skills, Help, Marriage, Focused, Strategy, Creative, Synchronicity, Study, Practice, Flow, Create, Courage, Move, Earn, Learn, 110%, Returns, Visible, Focus, Integrity, Altruism, Learn, Live, Work, Create, Listen, Focus, Action, Integrate, Explore, Beauty, Fulfill, Connect, Healthy, Thrive, Write, Plan, Space, Health, Teach, Connect, Create, Complete, Jump, Prioritize, Leverage, Prepare, Plan, Backup Plan, Commit, Discipline, Important, Present, Health, Reconstruct, Invest, Connect, Discipline, Graceful, Pray, Renew, Harmony, Promote, Patience, Initiative, Conversations, Discipline, Others, Potential, Image, Accelerate, Delve, Bloom, Focus, Learn, Thrive, Kids, Tranquility, Peace.

So, the word I will pick for myself for the next six weeks is “laugh” — laugh out loud like Eddie Murphy does — he knows how to really laugh.  As I have grow older and perhaps wiser (the jury is still out on this one), I find that I might smile, I might grin, I might get a twinkle in my eye, but I just don’t laugh out loud often. When I was 20, I knew how to laugh.

If you are wondering why one word for six weeks, its because six weeks is a great start when building a new habit.

What word will you pick?

I.M. Optimism Man

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