You can actually make your world better right now by choosing different words to describe it. Yes, it’s true.
If you want a different outcome, ask a different question. That’s how real change happens.
You also influence your outcomes by the way you answer questions.
For example, the next time someone asks how you’re doing, answer with a better choice. If you usually say “I’m okay” next time say “Unexpectedly well, thank you!”
If you normally say “I’m fine,” next time say something like “It’s a fantastic day, thank you.” See what happens. Or “Astonishingly well, thank you”. This is great for when you feel homicidal but know that violence is not the answer.
Want different outcomes? Ask different questions.
1. Want to feel more meaning in your work, even when it feels mind-numbing?
:: Your purpose is not what you do. Your purpose is transforming people through what you do.
The outrageous Jade Simmons said that a Charleston Center for Women’s Conference several years ago. Stopped me in my tracks.
It’s so true. The people around you are constantly transformed by your example, your encouragement, your high expectations and your enthusiasm. Craft each meeting agenda, message, email and presentation with your own style, passion and a crystal-clear request (or call to action.)
2. Want to connect with people you meet more deeply, and skip some of the
boring trivial chit chat at the next networking event?
Don’t say, “So what do you do?”
Ask this when you meet someone you like.
:: So what are you excited about these days?
:: What continues to fascinate you about your work?
:: What have you been learning lately?
3. Want to not feel offended by what others say about you?
Don’t think, “What an idiot!”
Tell yourself this.
:: Everything has beauty. Not all eyes can see it. (Smile.)
:: What other people think of me is none of my business.
4. Want someone to leave your office right now so you can get some work done?
Don’t worry about what not to say. But here’s a word game you can play.
You interrupt and say: “OMG. Name! What time is it?
Other person: It’s ______.
You: Thank you. I was enjoying our chat so much I lost track of time. I have got to get to work on X this very minute or something really terrible will happen (improvise what that terrible thing is.) Thanks for stopping by!
Person appears at your door.
You: Hey, Name! It’s great to see you. I would love a 5-minute break just right now but then I have to get back to this project. You-know-who wants it now!
5. Want to prove you’re not hoarding information like North Korean nuclear weapons intelligence?
If you have direct reports, chances are they think you’re keeping valuable information away from them. If you don’t believe me, ask them.
Hey, Name! Is there anything you’d like to know from me that can help you be more successful in what you’re doing?
I know there are rumors flying like a massive alien invasion. Here’s what I know. (Now spit it out.)
Note: if you’re on the other side of the equation, tell your boss you’d like to know what’s [probably] coming down the pipeline, even if you know things will change.
6. Want to feel rich and relaxed right now?
Don’t say: The 1% get richer and the rest of use just get poorer.
Remind yourself of this.
:: The fact that you cannot tell me to the penny how much money you have between your checking account(s,) saving account(s) other accounts and cash on hand, means you are rich right now this very minute.
7. Want to ask for a raise?
Don’t [ever] say: I need more money.
Write down these things and share them [soon] with your boss.
:: I add value to my organization by doing these things…. and I think it’s time for a __% raise.
:: Because of my contribution, these great things have happened to this organization…. and I think it’s time for a __% raise.
:: This study shows that people who do my job in other companies make $…. and I think it’s time for a ___% raise.
If you still get shot down, ask for a timeline of when you can expect a raise and what you need to do to get it.
8. Want to feel happy right now?
This is what I say to myself.
There are at least 5 things that make my life so unbelievably good. Just for starters, I have a Nespresso machine, finger nails (to keep me from chopping off my finger tips when cutting onions,) a cracked-out addiction to salted brownie bites at Trader Joe’s, more friends than I can shake a stick at and they all really want me to succeed. And then there’s my Kindle app that has almost 100 books on it.
Now that’s magical. Your turn.
Want to have more interesting conversations? Here are 55 Imaginative Conversation Starters. The last 10 are especially crafted for virtual meetings.