One of the many useful tools I employ in my coaching is the quick, whimsical swap of one word for another. The utility of this exchange, in my experience, is what I consider to be the necessary deflation or retirement of the original word, which I so cavalierly appoint as pale, overused, poorly understood, or just quite simply finished.
A good example is one that I use with my student clients. Instead of worrying about “TIME MANAGEMENT”, think of it as “FOCUS MANAGEMENT”. You are never managing time. A whole bunch of folks, including Julius Caesar, already puzzled that out for us a while back. You manage your FOCUS. Or you don’t.
In this case I am bidding a fond farewell to the word, “VALUE”.
Of course this is overly dramatic, and in many senses just one of the multitudes of ways in which I amuse myself as I stand, sometimes sinking, in the sands of time whilst the waves of plagues, progress, and perpetuity splash up against my efforts and leave me grit-borne and fussy.
I spend a great deal of time longing for new ways to enliven the process of growth. I find language to be among the most persuasive.
This comedic device is of great val-, oh, I mean…well, anyway, how often (if you really know me) have you truly witnessed me being fussy? It’s just not my jam.
Bidding a fond farewell to the word “VALUE” is not to say I will never use the word again. Nay. It represents too many expressions across our language; economics, linguistics, music, mathematics, luminosity of color, and, of course, a point on the slippery, sliding scale of the all-too-generic continuum of merit-based assessment.
I honestly have no quarrel with economics, linguistics, music, mathematics, nor even the luminosity of color.
It is the common use of the word VALUE as regards the self that I seek to reformulate and cast aside. I hope my replacement will illuminate and elevate YOUR self, MY self, to a higher place.
Self deserves more VALUE, but there seems to be no gas left in VALUE.
I hereby appoint “CONFIDENCE” to take its place.
A little background.
I don’t have a dusty old script from which I read to my coaching clients, except maybe one common question – because it truly does reveal so much about a person.
“Why do you think we are here?” (Clearly this is a discussion for another time)
This near absence of script serves to allow me to listen, at first, more than impart solutions. But I don’t let my clients stories about here-is-where-all-the-madness-and-toil-began go on for long because I do not believe we are here to recount the almighty last day (i.e. all of your many yesterdays strung together, most times sorely lacking in luminosity). I find my clients reach out to me precisely because they are finally weary of recycling the past. They are ready for newness. NOW.
We are here to speak and act upon what is now and what is to come (spacetime continuum notwithstanding).
The background I want you to understand is that many more times than not, I ask a person to describe their VALUES to me and they cannot. Or perhaps they have never truly thought about what the word VALUE means to them. Or they have heard the word so many times, but never thought applying it to themself was necessary because maybe they figured it was sufficiently implied.
VALUE…self-VALUE should never be implied. And it is because of this sweeping negligence of self and the VALUE that should be consciously attached to self that I seek a more worthy worth of a word.
What are YOUR values? If you even had to stop and think for two seconds, don’t bother. I have an alternative for you.
But in order to dispense with the VALUE formerly known to (not enough) apply to self, let’s isolate the way in which VALUE is used in the context of ourselves.
We’ll do a little Q & A exercise with VALUE, then we’ll make the swap to CONFIDENCE:
Q: “What are your VALUES?” (See how tired that question is? And the question seems to want a LIST from you! Exhausting! Absolutely not happening.)
A: Your VALUES are the words that other people use to describe you behind your back.
That’s right. Part of my business is cutting to the chase. Unless you are unutterably naive, you really must know that people talk about us behind our backs. Best of luck putting a stop to it. You do it, too. It’s what people do. Take it easy. Don’t blow it out of proportion. Don’t worry. USE it to derive your VALUES. In other words, what would you PREFER people say when they go on about you when you’re not there? See how much control you have over this? I mean, you DO have control over the way in which you behave; the choices you make. And you are not here to please anyone but yourself, so make sure you have a good think about how that’s going. Your job is to VALUE yourself. Everyone else under the sun and moon can go fly a kite.
Now, let’s run the exercise again with the swap. You see now how triggering VALUE is.
Q: “How much CONFIDENCE do you have in yourself? (See how that’s not really a leading question? …How much more honest a question that is? It doesn’t imply ANYTHING. It’s just asking how much. Easy. Plus I’m going to give you the answer, just like above)
A: It depends.
That’s right. Part of my business is cutting to the chase. Unless you are unutterably naive, you really must know the degree of confidence a person has is ever changing. It is not fixed in space. Best of luck putting a stop to it. You fluctuate, too. It’s what people do. Take it easy. Don’t blow it out of proportion. Don’t worry. Use CONFIDENCE to determine where you are on the scale of 1-10; the CONFIDENCE continuum for any given thing.
Now you have something solid-ish to go on. I mean, you DO have control over how much CONFIDENCE you think you have; the choices you make based on the score you give yourself. And you are not here to please anyone but yourself, so make sure you have a good think about where you would like to appear on the scale for any given thing. Your job is to have CONFIDENCE in yourself. Everyone else under the sun and moon can go fly a kite.
THIS IS WHY I COACH.
CONFIDENCE IS ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING.
And VALUE, it seems, just wasn’t getting the job done.
Add if you believe that CONFIDENCE is truly that powerful, then your physical body – the one that is INVINCIBLE because you’re still breathing and have not yet been overcome – your physical body can achieve higher heights of INVINCIBILITY through your relationship to CONFIDENCE.
You are either in a state of improvement or a state of decline.
Shall we begin?