Every human has a narrative, a story that draws on their evolution and chronology. When I coach leaders, I invite them to consider who they are as a bigger part of the conversation than what they want. Listening for their essence gives me an understanding or point of entry for framing and reframing their experiences so they can “redesign, realign, reconnect, reshape, or recalibrate.”
A seminal figure in the field of coaching, Thomas Leonard once said to me, “What I want for all people is that they have enough language.” That has stuck with me throughout the 26 years I have been coaching. If we have the right language, we can embody a new mindset, a shift in perspective and make more thoughtful choices about how we express who we are and what we do next.
Reaction, Reignite, Reengage, Realign, Reconnect, Reimagine, Remember, Revisit, Retool, Recalibrate, Redo, Reexamine, Repay, Reshape, Reassess, Redesign, Reawaken
The insight into RE occurred while working on my latest book, Zombies to Zealots, Reawaken the Human Spirit at Work. As I considered the Latin prefix RE and conducted online research, I took a deeper dive into its origin. The etymology reveals that RE essentially means again and again which is how we toss language around. Looking deeper, it means the alpha and the omega which is to say that the beginning is the same in essence as the end. For example, ReAwaken is to Awaken as if you are can see everything around you as if for the first time and in a view that was originally intended, and always there, yet you had not taken time to witness or see.
I played with this notion in the book, wondering on the page about its meaning relative to humanity now.
“The power of re as I see it is to reawaken to the notion that you were you before you were born, and that this human vehicle is your means for expression, for living, for connecting, and for contributing. That’s provocative isn’t it? It’s a powerful invocation—and maybe a simple reminder to fearlessly dive into the chaos surrounding you, to welcome the challenges, to move beyond this frozen state you may find yourself in these days given the noise in the news, and to get jiggy, get moving, take charge on your path to change–not because you have to but because you can, especially when you view your work and life as a game. In that frame, each of these words can become an invitation and a pathway back to wholehearted life at work!”
Bill Taylor, co-founding editor of Fast Company magazine and author, writes in a Harvard Business Review article, “Talk the Walk” that “The only sustainable form of business leadership is thought leadership. And leaders that think differently about their business invariably talk about it differently as well.” (link article here?)
Here are some Reminders for you to Re-MEMBER during this time and space.
5 Game Changer Ideas
Rememberwho you are. Consider what you do beyond your company’s leadership mandates and lexicon. “It’s not enough to be considered just a thought leader in what you do, you must be considered the only one who does what you do.” Jerry Garcia. What’s that for you?
Reexamine how you speak about others Consider the “ings”… the recalibrating, realigning, reminding, reassessing, reawakening…. Notice how people are reminded of their genius or their failures in your language.
“Rework” your language. Try to capture both your own repetitive and limiting language and that of all others on a visible whiteboard or company communication site. Keep a running list as the words are thrown out in conversations. Make it a game to capture them somewhere. They don’t have to be “RE” words, but give ’em extra points for those!
Remind people that what you do in service to something greater. And remind them with enthusiasm. See who people really are, and tell them what you see that is powerful and beautiful in them.
Reimagine together. Invite everyone you meet to remember the essence of their highest and best contribution throughout their lives and reconnect that to their work each day. Invite people to unleash who they really because you can see their power. And then, reimagine who you are in the way you frame and reframe your own story… and how we are going to work together in new ways… for the future of humankind.