I’ve not seen you for a little while. Been out and about, busy doing my thing and was at a conference recently which I thoroughly enjoyed. It gave me space to start reflecting.

Whilst listening to some of the speakers, what was quite interesting was I suddenly tuned in to the word don’t. Now, I’m a bit of a language freak as some of you know and I love listening to people and how we communicate, it really interests me. What also interests me is how often the use of the word don’t features in our vocabulary when our intention is actually searching for something positive. 

For example, working with some clients this week we were looking at a situation and looking at how to resolve that situation. One of the outcomes of the situation was don’t react to the behaviour. Now, whilst that’s understandable in its wording, what actually the unconscious mind hears is react to the behaviour.

Often, you’ll hear people say, “don’t forget,” and actually what is being processed on an unconscious level is forget… don’t react processes as react…don’t know as know…don’t worry as worry. You get the idea!

It’s really interesting because our unconscious mind is not able to process the word don’t, we hear the other words. 

If I say to you, “don’t think of a blue elephant,” low and behold, there’s a blue elephant with you. Our offer is to start to notice your own language. Start to notice how useful that becomes for you.

Now, you might make a change, or you might not make a change as it does nothing for you. The offer really is to maybe think about the impact of how changing phraseology could give a more positive statement, moving away from the negative. So, don’t respond to the behaviour, could turn into something like, noticing the other person’s behaviour, I will choose to behave differently. It has a completely different tone and impact from don’t respond to the behaviour.

I’m going to leave you with a couple of questions.

What can you say instead?  

What phrases put you in a win-win situation?

There you go, there’s my musings on the word don’t. I hope that’s useful. I would encourage you to just notice and see what happens for you. Been delightful to talk to you, as ever, and I’ll speak to you soon.