I just rattled off a friendly email to a fellow coach, and as I’m a bit of a fusspot about grammar, spelling etc., I naturally proofread it before hitting ‘send’.
Imagine my dismay when I counted – in a very short message – no less than FOUR uses of the word ‘hope’ or another word with a similar vibe. Good grief! Talk about someone keeping their fingers crossed.
It was all quite innocent phrases, like ‘I hope all is good with you’, and ‘hope you’re coming along to such and such’, but when I read it back it all sounded so, well, wishy-washy. Like the future was something that may or may not turn out right, and I just needed to give a Gallic shrug and let nature take its course.
The reason I noticed this tsunami of high hopes is because it’s a verbal tendency that’s been pointed out to me before. That person way back then was absolutely right in what she said: When I (or you!) sprinkle our communication with weak, unassertive words and phrases like ‘hopefully’ and ‘with any luck’, we significantly undermine the strength and credibility of the message we are trying to convey.
Here’s what I mean. Here, genuinely (and yes, I am cringing already), is what I originally wrote to my coaching colleague:
“I have today booked my place on John’s CPD session on 18th November, so hopefully I’ll see you there? As it’s a 10-4 session, I hope to come away feeling really well developed! Until then, I trust all is good with you and yours. I really look forward to catching up again, on the 18th with any luck.”
Hmm… Compare that with what I changed it to:
“I have today booked my place on John’s CPD session on 18th November. See you there? As it’s a 10-4 session, I intend to come away feeling really well developed! Until then, hello to the family and I’m looking forward to catching up again – on the 18th if you can make it.”
Spot the difference?
If there’s any truth in the concept that we attract what we most wish for (and who wouldn’t want to attract success, fulfilment, a sense of worth, whatever matters to us most?) then surely we should be working for it a little bit harder than just keeping our fingers crossed. Our future – in our business, our career, our personal life, our health – is very much of our own making. All of those positive outcomes are things I must actively cultivate, rather than just ‘hoping’ they will just appear for me as if by magic.