I had the honor of attending an Executive Women International Spring Conference in Chattanooga last weekend. The experience of meeting new people, making strong connections, gaining new knowledge, and being inspired to be the best me I can be is exciting. And I was due for an experience like that outside of my own efforts of self-motivation.
There was a Leadership Academy training day that focused on Emotional Intelligence. Emotional Intelligence is basically being aware of what's going on with internal thinking and the outward expression. My words. Being aware of your own "stuff" as well as others' "stuff" and how to manage it all. All this falls in line with what I train and coach on regularly - the messages we've been given and the messages we give ourselves. Lori Giovannani was our amazingly fabulous trainer - I want to be like her! She was hilarious and engaging, had us all totally hanging on her every word and contributing to the conversation. During the training she made a statement that has really stuck with me that I will use, "Insignificant remarks made by significant people."
How many times in your life have you suddenly become aware of the same negative thought in your head? Where did it originate? Who said something that made you think that way? Let me give you an example. When I was 16, I worked as a clerk in a Louisville law firm where my mom did administrative work. It was a great Summer job in the "big city" for a simple, but smart, country girl. To this 16 year-old the attorneys in the office were a big deal. The title partner was a bigger deal. If he talked to you, if felt like rubbing elbows with the city's big wigs. A significant person. I dressed as professionally as I could - dresses even. One day he made an insignificant remark (to him), "You would be pretty if you didn't look so fat." I think at the time he may have thought he had good intentions. But half a life later, that comment still sticks with me every time I bloat past the threshold of my "fat pants." I remind myself that beauty is made of more than just outward appearance. It's my personality, my values, my serving of others with a healthy attitude, my confidence in knowing who I am and living that out to inspire and motivate others. That example is not the only insignificant remark that has stuck with me and molded the way I have responded to situations, planned for the future, worked at a career, loved in a relationship, or seen myself internally.
We do it to others, too.
Being aware of those off-handed remarks that became big deals to me, I am more intentional about what I say to others. Even if I'm hormonal, I will at least warn when the filter is off. But when I am being intentional with my words, fully engaged in the conversation with the person across from me, the impact it can have on them is incredible. They not only take my words to heart, they live it out in positive ways. I want to make sure my insignificant remarks have a positive entry in their mental file cabinets.