Why Watching your Words is key for Enlightened Business
Buddha's Path for Business People, part 1
One of the elements on Buddha's path for ending suffering and awakening to enlightenment is 'Right Speech'.
Words have great power, they help you get your message across and build a great business or they can completely erode the trust clients and co-workers have in you and your services.
Find out which habits to avoid and how you can lift up your business to a more enlightened level.
The power of words
Words. They are the building blocks for our daily communication with co-workers and clients.
They float out of our mouths automatically.
Words have a lot of power. For good and for bad.
You pay attention to what you say when making a sales pitch, when trying to convince someone. When you want to make a good impression.
But do you pay equal attention in day-to-day conversations with others?
Do you pay attention how you talk to your self?
How words inhibit personal and business growth
On the path to end suffering it is important to become aware of your habits in communication. Communication habits that seem ordinary, may actually have a big impact on the awakening process and on your business success. Often in a negative way.
There are a number of habits that hinder your progress on the path to enlightened business:
1. Lying and cheating
Everybody does it. Lying. From big ones to little white lies.
Small social lies to avoid conflict or awkwardness are most common in the office.
"How are you?". "I’m fine.”
Most of the time the response comes automatically, you don't stop to reflect on the question. And if you do, why bother to tell that you were awake for hours last night and you feel really crap this morning. It's easier to hide the truth and stay pleasant.
You cheat to be accepted by others, to uphold your self esteem, to save face, especially in front of clients. "I got stuck in traffic" when you really forgot to activate the alarm clock, spilled coffee over your shirt or did something else that you felt really stupid about. It's not commonly done to be open about your humanness.
Lying and cheating bring social acceptance. There is however an obvious downside. Lying requires a lot of effort. Lies tax the brain, they cause stress and anxiety. Each time you lie, your self-worth diminishes, because you feel that your truth is not acceptable.
2. Swearing and abusing
Abusive speech is often the result of strong emotions.
Low blood sugar levels don’t help either.
Swearing because you hit your toe is one thing. Calling a co-worker stupid, another. Besides the question if the person on the receiving end deserved it, why did you do that?
You tend to call other people names because you experience a negative emotion. In order to feel better you throw the emotions outwards and pull the other person down with you to a place of negativity. It happens really fast and it relieves some of the pain in the moment. Often you feel guilty afterwards though and try to make it up. Usually the damage is done: swearing or even shouting at others has long term effects of eroding trust and damaging relationships.If you can’t say anything nice, say nothing at all
"Did you see what she's wearing today?"
"Did your hear he messed up the presentation last week?"
Gossiping is a common pastime in the office. You know it's wrong to gossip, but it is sometimes hard to resist. Why is gossiping so tempting?
Gossip builds social bonds, set boundaries for a group and communicates values shared in the office. Unfortunately all in a negative way.
Gossip always has an undertone of aggression or envy in it. It passes judgement on the actions or non-actions of a third person that is not there. It makes you feel superior or it helps you feel normal about yourself. You gossip most when you feel wronged or victimized.
4. Negative Self-Talk
"How could I be so stupid?!"
" I really f*cked up that meeting!"
Muttering doubts or judgements about yourself out loud is another bad habit. Not only do you entertain negative thoughts about your actions, but by voicing them out loud you give them more weight and reinforce the negative spiral of self-doubt and unworthiness. It's impossible to succeed in business if you don't believe in yourself.
The 20th century practices where you bluff your way in business no longer apply. Nowadays, co-workers leave if they don't feel trust and clients want to do business with real people. Especially if you want to change the world through your business. There are a number of ways you can bring more consciousness and authenticity to your daily business communication:
Pause before you speak
Next time someone asks how you are, take a breath and reflect on the question. It may not be the time and place to vent all your worries and sorrows, but at least acknowledge the truth of how you feel to yourself. Then make a choice how much you are willing to share. Practice expressing your feelings in a way that supports your truth.
Recognize the emotion or feeling
When you recognize the aggression within yourself when you gossip, you are increasing your self-knowledge and learn to accept that you too experience dark or negative emotions. Once you stop suppressing those feelings or projecting them on others, the energy you invested in those activities can be focused on self-development instead.
When you feel secure in your self, you no longer will feel the need to put others down in order to feel good about yourself.
Focus on the positive
Focusing on whats wrong with others, keeps you in a place of non-acceptance of yourself. When you need to give someone feedback, always highlight more than one aspect of the situation. Every person has good and bad traits, brilliance and stupidity. By focusing on the brilliance in others, you allow yourself to focus on our own brilliance.
Change your tone
The way you portray yourself has a direct impact on how you feel. When you react angry to negative comments of a client or co-worker, you will feel upset. When you respond with compassion, you will actually feel compassion for your own faults too. Use soft words and a calm tone of voice instead of harsh criticism and shouting. Sending out positive vibrations makes you a more upbeat person, a person that others like to do business with. You not only influence your own feelings but the mindset of others around you as well.
Authenticity and honesty are key to run an enlightened business. By watching your words on a daily basis you will become aware in what area's you can grow, you'll become mindful of the impact of your words and become a Buddha in Business.
This article is part of the series Buddha's Path for Business People. This series explores the practical implications of the eightfold path to end suffering and awaken to enlightenment for business people.
Image: Alphabet Island, Rosario Nocera
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