Mark Gillett

Come back frequently……

Its how we spin it…….Be your own spin doctor.

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I love words…. I always have. Even as a young child I remember playing with them. I think most children probably do this. I would put the emphasis on different syllables or letters. Change the tone. Sing them….  I would do anything to see what they sounded like in as many different ways as I could. Then I would notice that the word would often sound silly once I said it more than 5 or 6 times..

What I noticed was that just by small changes in the pronunciation or tone, the effectiveness or even meaning of that word would change and sometimes quite radically. Try saying “I had a great day” in as many different ways as possible and feel the difference. Just say the word “great” in different ways too…. Said sarcastically of course it means the opposite. Said with passion, it comes from the heart. Said blandly it means nothing at all.

When I started coaching I found that how I used words had a direct effect on those I was coaching. If I joked, which I did a lot, I could get away with saying anything but my tone had to be right. I watched other coaches do the same and get it totally wrong and upset many people. Tone was also key. I had to perfect the words and the tone with children differently than with adults which to most is obvious, of course. But to me I became more and more aware of the power of words and tone.

We all do this naturally with our children. We choose words that they will understand, a tone that will suit the age, words that will encourage them (or should) and when we discipline them we need to choose those words and tones carefully too. Done the wrong way and the effect is poor or degrading. Done well, the effect is powerful without being patronising.

With this in mind it becomes easier to change our outlook or perception of life or work by choosing our words more carefully….. Spin it differently. I know someone who calls certain things that happen in the day “emergencies” and so she is constantly chasing these emergencies. But if you were to read that you would think she was an ambulance driver or fireman. An emergency is your child calling from school with a broken arm or your wife calling after an accident. At work when we have something that needs to be attended to immediately its just that… A priority not an emergency. How often do we here the term “nightmare day”? It never is really… More just incredibly busy or overbooked. If you actually told yourself you overbooked the day, you might then make better diary entries in the future as you are recognising what you have done wrong. Nightmare is just nightmare!

To most of us perception is reality but then the true reality is often different from our perception… Take the business pitch where you spend a week on a proposal, you present it brilliantly, you feel great and you really could not have done much differently. But the guy you presented to has a bad day or prefers another pitch for one small reason. You lose. This turns your week into a “nightmare” as you lost the pitch that you spent so much time on. But analyse why and could you have done much differently the answer is often no.

A tennis match analogy I have seen frequently…… A player plays out of his or her skin, the match goes into the third set, it then goes to a 6-6 tie break, the fight is huge and a true battle. Point for point and the momentum swings like Dolly Parton but suddenly it goes against you. You are one break point down and finally nerves and tiredness get the better of you and you dump your backhand in the net. Match lost. A great match by all accounts but what you remember is the loss. That awful match that went all the way and was lost. That backhand. The net. The reality was very different though. Both players showed great skill, courage, mental strength, endurance, determination and fight right to the end. Trouble is it has to end.

If we can change our perception, we can change the reality. Or if we look at the reality carefully then our perception of various circumstances will change too. This can be done with words we choose to use and the tone. It needs to be sincere and from the heart but sincerity will also come from believing which in turn can come from practice. It no different to labeling really. We become our labels very easily. Just re label yourself.

Before I ran the Marathon des Sables someone said to me it will be the best running holiday ever.. That stuck with me and it was. It certainly was not 6 back to back marathons or a 250km run through the desert as some describe it….It was 6 days of runs with lots of fun down time, much pain and huge amounts of laughter. For the well prepared its just a great week…….

Written by markgillett

January 5, 2011 at 11:20 am

2 Responses

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  1. HAPPY NEW YEAR Mark. Great to hear from you – very profound words I must say 🙂 Hope you are well and enjoying life. As you’ll see from my web site i have set up on my own now and loving it! I make films for web sites – directing, shooting and editing myself. I have done a video for pit farm web site which was money for old rope!! Take care. ATB, Tracey

    Tracey Manasseh

    January 5, 2011 at 1:29 pm

  2. Amazing piece, really makes me see things differently now.


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