It’s All About the Language

I’ve been on holiday this past week and one of my vacation activities has been some golf. Today’s resort golf courses include a GPS and digital device that helps the golfer know their distance to the hole as they prepare for their next shot.

Among the additional pieces of information on these digital maps is a description of the golf hole. As I played my round, I noticed that the write-ups of the golf holes all seemed to be designed to make them seem a bit intimidating:

“This challenging first hole demands that the golfer play his ball within the narrow fairway or face the consequences of an impossible second shot to the very difficult green, blah, blah, blah…”

After a few holes, I stopped reading the descriptions, as they just made me feel anxious about my play, given my somewhat average ability. I started to think about writing my own descriptions and wondered what they would look like if the golf pro wrote their portrayals in a bit more positive fashion:

“The golfer will find great satisfaction by placing their drive down the middle of the fairway which will position them for an exciting second shot into our beautifully designed green. Don’t forget to look for the Azalea bushes in the spring which will bring a delightful smile to your face.”

Ahhh, just saying it this way is so much more calming.

How we message our communication is critical, and our tendency to focus on the negative and most challenging often creates a sense of stress rather than a sense of joy and ease for ourselves and others. Finding ways to create challenge without anxiety is an art form that is at the heart of resilience.

The Leadership Café

Edwin K. Morris is the President and Founder of Pioneer Knowledge Services (PKS), a non-profit organization with a charitable purpose in Western New York. Their practices involve clients in customizing knowledge solutions and training to cultivate an organizational disposition and culture that values knowledge as a sustainable asset.  

As a podcast host himself, Edwin discusses his leadership career and the tactics he learned both in and out of the military.  Telling stories about advice he would receive from Vietnam War Veterans and how he flipped the advice to benefit his career decisions. Explaining how academic learning came to him at a later time in life.

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