To Be More Fearless, Change Your Vocabulary

People who live on purpose are not interested in standing out in the crowd. That may happen, but it is not why they do what they do. When you live with intention, your primary focus is the process rather than the end result. Expectation-driven people go for the goal no matter what. The achievement of the goal becomes the priority because they think that determines their value and worth.

The same is true for people who attempt to be extraordinary—like my sister Linda, a math teacher who dreamt of working for NASA. Her expectations got in her way. She became frustrated and figured she would never contribute anything to changing the world, so what was the point of teaching full time? She had plenty of evidence to prove her point. We have all heard the stories of how brutal the classroom environment is and how meager the pay is. So she decorated her house and bought some fish. Then a school called that had an emergency. Could she substitute-teach a high school math class for two months? They were desperate. Well, she reasoned, she could use the money. She started to teach. And that is when everything changed. All of a sudden, instead of waiting for something big to happen where she could help change the world, she began to embrace the work right in front of her. Linda is a gifted math teacher with an amazing ability to help the tough students learn with ease. An ordinary job, yet she realized her ordinary job was exactly what made her feel special. She contributed without thought of return. Instead, her reward was seeing a child understand a concept that had been Greek to him just the day before. As my sister Linda claimed her ordinariness, she stepped out of her fear and began to contribute in an extraordinary way. She was in intention.

What happened to Linda is what happens when you are willing to own the path of ordinary. Yes, I said ordinary. Because we all share many of the same qualities, we are at some level ordinary. It is our ability to be with ourselves that allows our uniqueness to shine. To live with intention and be ourselves, we must be ordinary. I know that is the only way I have achieved what I have. Before I owned ordinary, I kept success at bay judging what it should look like and where it would come from. Nothing was good enough or perfect enough. And I didn’t want to do the menial labor necessary to succeed. It is the same attitude of wanting to be extraordinary that keeps someone from working at a fast food restaurant when they desperately need the money. They would rather starve than work at something that they think is beneath them. But that’s the point; no job is better than any other. It is only in your mind. I waitressed for over 15 years and, let me tell you, that job taught me everything about running my own business. It was anything but beneath me. It gave me the skills I needed to operate a thriving enterprise and the confidence to speak in front of a crowd. Break your addiction to extraordinary and get in touch with the power of being ordinary.

Fearbuster Exercise: Language of Intention

The language we use affects how we are perceived in the world. It advertises what we think and believe. When we live in expectations, we discover that the language we use disempowers us. On the other hand, when we live in intention, the words we speak empower us and the world at large. Our vocabulary determines whether we accept ourselves, believe in who we are, and walk our talk. It is the accumulation of our conscious and unconscious thoughts.

The following are some of the words of intention I would like you to incorporate into your vocabulary on a regular basis, replacing the fear-based words of expectation. See how often you empower yourself.

  • Eliminate as many “supposed to’s,” “shoulds,” and “need to’s” from your vocabulary as possible. They limit your thinking, taking away personal responsibility. Replace them with the words of intention and accountability “I choose,” “I want,” and “I decide.”
  • Cut down your usage of “but.” Often we express a feeling or thought and then follow it with “but.” I am sure we have all heard the saying that “but eliminates the statement before it.” An example is “I love you, but …” We all know what that means. Replace it with “and” and “yet.” Those are the inclusive words of intention.
  • Instead of talking about the fear-based future or past, which is where comparing and competition live, as often as possible only speak about the freedom-centered present. Also actions only occur in the present. The present moment is where life happens.
  • Refuse to be outer focused. That means your life is diecded by reactions to the outside world versus inner focused, where intuition and intention are the guiding forces determining your future. Using the words “they think” or “they say” puts the power into the hands of individuals outside of your control. Instead say what do “I think.”
  • Give up saying “I can’t.” Substitute “I can” or “I could” or “I will,” which give you freedom to believe in limitless outcomes.
  • Speak about commitments when you are making a decision. Intention uses your essential nature and quality of wholeness as the foundation of any commitment. Without commitment, emotional boundaries are impossible, yes and no have little power, and integrity is elusive. “I am committed to …” lets your intention be known.
  • No more “what’s wrong?” Instead ask “where is the opportunity in this situation?” This allows for creative brainstorming. It also teaches you how to reframe the way you look at the world, from a negative, fear-based viewpoint to a positive, proactive, powerful one.
  • “Difficult,” “hard,” or “problem” are words that immediately make the situation appear to be too exhausting, too overwhelming, and impossible to overcome. Instead, replace those words with “challenging” or “challenge.” Challenges allow the opportunity of solution, inspiration, and guidance. It is easier to confront a “challenge” head on than a “problem.”
  • No more “impossible.” We only have our limited fear-based system in place if “impossible” is our word of choice. Yet we have all heard of miracles occurring in regard to health challenges or money situations, and that is where intention comes into play. “Possible” opens up our minds to seeing things differently, and that is where opportunity lies.

Changing your language will set your intention firmly in place. And that will alter your filtering system from one based in fear to one that thrives in freedom. False perceptions are eliminated, and truth and integrity fuel your intentions.

Excerpted with permission from Fearless Living: Live Without Excuses and Love Without Regret, © 2002, by Rhonda Britten.

Rhonda Britten, Emmy Award–winner, repeat Oprah guest, TEDx speaker, and Huffington Post blogger, is a globally recognized expert on fear and fearlessness.

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