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What Did You Say? What Did You Mean

Passion is a word I use a lot but am trying to get away from now.  I used it in yesterday’s blog because I am still in transition on how to use it and when to use it.

I learned that the root of the word passion is pathi which means to suffer or submit.  Personally, whenever I think of the word passion I think of energy, power, drive, ambition, and intense feeling.  What I don’t think of is suffering or submitting. 

Words do carry energy.  The word passion carries a negative energy due to its root but it is so hard to get rid of that word.

But replacing a word you have used so often is not easy.  I struggle at times because the word passion just seems to fit so perfectly yet I don’t like the root of the word so why not pick another word?

Here is the word I am trying to replace it with- enthusiasm.  The dictionary defines enthusiasm as an absorbing or controlling possession of the mind by any interest or pursuit.  In ancient times it means possession by a god.  So you were filled with “godlikeness”- okay is that even a word??

I am bringing this up because I can’t even begin to tell you the impact words have on how positively or negatively a conflict or negotiation plays out.  If you aren’t thinking about your word choices when you aren’t under pressure, then you have no chance of selecting good words when you are under pressure.  These word choices then play out in picking phrases that are more on the defensive side rather than on the positive side of communication.

Phrases like “I heard what you said, but” or “I don’t think you heard me correctly” feel very blaming or dismissive yet I hear them played out over and over again in conflicts.  “You’re not listening to me” is another phrase thrown out.

Think how differently those feel from phrases such as “I am not sure I was very clear,” “Let me rephrase that” or “So if I understand you correctly”.

And don’t think a quick “You don’t mind”, “Forgive me” or “Is that alright?” thrown after a quick biting retort buys you forgiveness.  All it does is put the other person in an uncomfortable position while you forge ahead as you desire.  I have a girlfriend that is quick to always say what she wants and how she wants it and she constantly throws out the above phrases as though they are her get out of jail card.  It is like throwing down the gauntlet and then asking the other person to pick up the glove.  Well who wants to do that to a friend?

If you ever have to throw out words of apology after saying something then you shouldn’t have said it.

Take Action: Watch the words and phrases that you use today.

Go to a friend and ask them to listen for any phrases or words you use that may be construed by others as being defensive.  Then work on getting rid of those phrases or words.


About Anne Warfield

As the leading Outcome Strategist, Anne Warfield shows people how to say the right thing at the right time every time.  The revolutionary Outcome Focus® Approach shows how to build a candid corporate culture of communication that allows you to lead, present and negotiate transformationally rather than transactionally. When applying Outcome Thinking® our client’s results include sales cycles reducing by 75%, turnover reducing by 30%, silos evaporating, and a 25% savings of time by executives.  Find out how you can maximize your corporate culture for greater productivity and results!  Contact us at 888-imp-9421, visit  www.impressionmanagement.com,  or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .