“The tongue has the power of life and death” Proverbs 18:21. Until I started getting around George Guzzardo and the LIFE leadership team of Orrin Woodward, I never realized the power of my words (or lack thereof). Anyone who knew me in my past (even just a handful of years ago) would say… ‘Words? She doesn’t use any.’ And it was true. I did not speak unless spoken to. I thought I was doing people a favor when I just kept my mouth shut. If I had to analyze and figure out why I never talked I would say it was poor confidence, poor self esteem, lack of interest in conversations and being totally introverted (in one word… shy).
But when I started to submit to learning about how to have confidence and develop people skills (from the team training system), I eventually realized that I did have things to say. It was then that I had to develop a filter and learn the art of communication.
I read a great article written by my mentor George Guzzardo that talked about community and words. Here is a piece of his writing:
“Rate every encounter as either a deposit or a withdrawal. Every relationship is an investment. How’s your investment going? Are you filling their tank or your tank? Rate every encounter with a passing or failing grade. Excellent means you left the other person inspired. Good means simply they were encouraged and left you feeling better for the experience. Fair is neutral. Neutral is a result of no effort. Poor and destructive means hurt, pain, and significant withdrawal. We must be careful to become conscious of our insecurity, guilt or low self-esteem leading to negative impact on the person and scars that have long term ramifications.” (click to read more)
Bam… straight to the heart on that one! George taught me that my ‘lack of communication’ danced between neutral and poor. I allowed my personal insecurities prevent relationships from occurring or worse, I ruined relationships (because I didn’t communicate).
Scripture also tells us a lot about the power of words. In James 3:5-6 it says, “Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire…” Psalm 119:130 says, “The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple,” or Proverbs 12:18 “Reckless words pierce like a sword.”
Our words carry such a high importance in life because we use them every day. Because I care so much for the relationships I have with people, I have learned to apply a filter in my communication. Before I speak, I try to think:
- Is what I am going to say true?
- Is what I am going to say loving?
- Is what I am going to say being directed to the right person?
- Is what I am going to say even necessary?
There are certain situations that these filters need not apply. However, with the important conversations, these filters always apply.
If it wasn’t for the mentorship and example of George Guzzardo (because he is one of the best), I would have never been able to learn how to communicate and I am still light years away from where I want to be. But, fear not, it is possible to be the shy kid and still develop some of the right habits to learn the art of communication. It is because of Orrin Woodward and the-life-business that I and many others can live a life of excellence and use our tongue to breathe life into others.