Something so simple as a turn of phrase can be the powerful catalyst that propels effective change for the better. We’ve referenced the effect “but” has on a sentence. We’ve explored the thought process that leads to excuses. Now, let’s take a look at one turn of phrase that literally turned my career around.
When I started working in advertising, I was full of the same wonder and ambition that many wide-eyed graduates hold entering the industry. This was soon quashed by the true nature of the business, endless hours, constant shifting deadlines and sheer volume of the work. So I started using a task manager to help keep track of everything that needed to get done on a daily basis.
What started off as a godsend quickly became a hindrance. The more tasks I accomplished, the more tasks got added to the list like some perverse game of Whack-a-Mole. Such is the burden of meeting your deadlines and being a reliable employee in a fast-paced industry. However, the weight of the task list almost sank my marketing prospects.
I didn’t know it yet, but this way of viewing my job every day held me back from getting even more done. It took just a simple turn of phrase to reframe the conversation and propel my career.
“What do I have to do next?”
This was how I looked at my task list. A never-ending source of responsibilities that ate my time as I ate so many break room snacks. That was the case until I flipped the script.
When you have to do something, you’re forced to do it. There’s no wiggle room. There’s no choice. It’s drudgery. This is how task lists get out of hand, because you’re constantly dreading the growing pile of demands that threatens to suffocate your time and your career.
Thinking of things this way, the goal was to put in minimal effort, move to the next, and go for quantity over quality. Since each task was a burden, you want to spend as little time on them as possible. One day, after wallowing through my first 30 tasks of the day and meeting with my manager, I hit on a new turn of phrase that described my task list approach. Then, everything changed.
“What do I get to do next”
When you get to do something, you’re given a chance. You have opportunity. You have promise. There’s hope in that statement. Task lists melt away when each and every entry exists as its own little miracle.
Now, framing each task as an opportunity, rather than a responsibility, I can put in maximum effort and get the most out of the situation. New tasks that crop up out of old ones are no longer feared. They’re welcomed. They’re just another part of the tapestry I weave with each and every client. That’s the meaning you make for yourself, all sprung from a simple turn of phrase.
I’m honored that so many diverse clients give me a chance to help them grow their business. That’s a sacred bond I cherish. The things I need to do for them aren’t requirements for the sake it. They’re required to elevate brands, intrigue customers and increase revenues. If this is what it takes to do things the right way, so be it.
The Power of a Turn of Phrase
One common sentiment, two ways to say it that frame your attitude toward accomplishing greatness. Sometimes, your attitude really is defined by the way you think of things. Shift a turn of phrase around and you could turn around your entire outlook on life and work.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, there are some complex business challenges on my plate that I get to solve.