When Something Goes Terribly Wrong
I don’t think it is any secret to those who know me well, and those just getting to know me, that I like to run at life with full force.
I have times where I retreat, to heal, think, strategise, and to get ready for what may come next; the times just before I emerge with what seems like something a little risky, or very fast moving, and take steps that can often take people surrounding me by surprise.
This is something I used to be incredibly apologetic for. I know if you embody a personality with any of the traits I carry, that right now you completely get what I am saying, and why I felt an ever-increasing need as I shifted through my life to date to apologise.
Particularly when something goes terribly, terribly wrong. A relationship shatters. A career ends. A parent is lost. A child is in danger. A world you thought you could trust literally dissipates under your feet.
And sometimes it is simply when a deal goes wrong, which is what happened for me in 2016 – in a very public, quite spectacular way. I ran at something incredibly hard, created enormous momentum, and elevated what I believed to be necessary conversations. Then when the deal at the centre of it went bad, it created chaos and firestorms that were as powerful as the momentum I had created on the way up.
It quite literally felt as though my world was tearing apart at a soul level. Bound by a California Gag Order (yes, they are real, I have one) and wrapped up in the restrictions of a business in receivership, I couldn’t speak to it. I couldn’t write to it.
In fact the emotional impact was so great I feared for the first time in my life that I had actually lost the language that created the rhythm of my life. The greatest fear I held emerging from those firestorms was that I would never be able to find the strength and power in words that I had always been able to command, almost at will.
The reason it created real fear at the deepest levels within is simply this:
Language, words, the way we speak to our external and internal worlds, craft perception and shift reality through the stories we build, the hidden strengths and traps within the metaphors we adopt, is the most critical tool we have when it comes to creating the life, business, and world that we say we want.
But it’s in the subtleties of what we learn when we build the muscle of speaking, of using language deliberately, unlocking the power within the words that we use that are most valuable for us when something goes terribly wrong. It’s not just about building something amazing, about engagement, visibility, positioning, winning, creating a life, relationships and a business worth living for.
Building the muscle of speaking, creating a love of language, words, and deliberate conversations, gives you so much more. It gives you options, and opens possibility.
1. It is the ONLY way to get what you want
When my eldest son was just 16 he articulated just why it is so important to invest in your ability to speak. Walking a beach, on a sun-drenched Easter Weekend island camping trip, he had been asked earlier by someone in the group to chat to their 15 year old daughter about how important it was to take English seriously. I was quietly amused, wondering just how he was going to handle it. And as we were all walking the beach, he dropped in beside *Sarah and asked her about what was going on in English. His next question got my attention and I started to slow down so as to hear where he was going, and that question was ‘*Sarah do you want to be able to get whatever you want when you grow up?’ Her answer was laughter and of course. He then went on to explain why she should take English more seriously, because the only way she was going to be able to get what she wanted was to know how to use her words to do so.
My 16 year old son perfectly articulated why learning to speak, and to speak well, is so important. It is the only way to truly be able to pursue – and get – what it is that you want.
2. You can’t fight in silence
When you need to fight for or against something, you can’t even take to the arena unless you know how to articulate what is important, how to strip it back to core messaging to make an impact, get attention, how to speak clearly enough to interrupt the masses and get attention.
You have to be able to identify what is fundamentally wrong or needs to shift, and elevate through story and language. You have to be able to clearly articulate a bridge between what is falling and what is possible. And you simply must be able to speak to the perceived future world in a way that takes the words you use to build a picture inside the minds of the people you most need to influence.
You simply cannot fight for or against something if you can’t speak with strength and power, understanding the subtleties in language and story that craft a formidable foundation from which to create a position of influence.
3. It’s the only way to get your back off the wall
I don’t care who you are, but when our back is against the wall and what we want is important enough we will do almost anything to get ourselves ‘off the wall’. But without the power of speaking, communicating, being able to articulate reality and start to brainstorm how to shift that reality, or being able to craft solutions and strategies, coming out from against the wall is the single most dangerous step you can make. Without the ability to articulate – and in that accept – what really exists, you will stumble, you may even fall, and you will struggle to regain your footing. Quite simply, your ability to speak is not about the rise, but everything about the fall; to take the hits, to speak to it, and to create alternatives and new pathways through the words that you use.
4. We are wired through our internal conversations
The most important conversation you will ever have are the ones which are constantly happening within. The inner critic, judge, delightful child, queen, king, jester, doubter, and the myriad of characters that run through our own internal conversations, conditioned and programmed by everything that has gone before this point in our life. We have to take conscious control of these internal conversations. To create interrupts, re-writing and re-programming, by understanding the influence our language holds over our own mind. It is only through deliberately changing the language we use internally, that we can change the programming, change our results, and ultimately change our world.
5. It is the key to improving every relationship we hold
I have delivered internal sales training within my own businesses since almost the start of this century – delivering sales training for major corporations across Australia including The Lott, with outstanding results. Working closely with C-Suite Executives for much of my last 10 years, I helped them get their messaging and communication strategies on point; mitigating the risk of the loose cannon approach to conversations and board-level meetings, and then building this into the SpeakableYOU suite. This is now where I get to work with people every single day to improve how they speak, pitch, present, position and sell.
The one constant that delivers an intrinsic and permeable level of satisfaction for me is this… every single person, every single time, will come back to me explaining how they have used what they have learnt to lift their ability to speak, pitch and present, their understanding of language and how we communicate, in the most surprising of places. It re-engages difficult clients, lost clients, and fractured working relationships. It has elevated their ability to sell, to position well, to start to love what they do, and to see greater possibility than they ever thought possible.
But what shines through the most is when they talk about how it has changed their marriage, their relationship with a distant parent, their ability to get down on the floor and love conversations with their disconnected teenagers. Its sheer amazement and complete bliss in knowing that they have something that hasn’t just improved their speaking world – it has opened up their entire world.
It is because how we do one thing, is how we do everything.
Speaking is not just about taking to a stage and being heard as the voice of good, or even great.
Everything about elevating your world; deepening trust and connection wherever you look; unlocking a world of possibility you didn’t know existed before, is simply because through learning how to speak, you now have the tools to navigate it.
It quite simply, allows you lean into life in every single moment.
That is all I have ever wanted for anyone in my world. And right now – that includes you.