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Greetings dear friends & welcome to my world again this week. Today, I would like to speak about words. Words create worlds. Every single one of us could give testimony to the truthfulness of those words from someone or somewhere.  We can go back in our minds to the teacher or coach or grandparent who spoke life-giving words to us.  We can remember how much wind it put in our sails when they said those four magical words to us… “I believe in you.”

We can also go back in our minds to hurtful & attacking words which scarred us.  And even though it may have been years ago, we can remember it & still feel the emotion of it like it was yesterday.

The words in our past echo in our present & they continue to shape our lives today.  Words have incredible power. And this is doubly true for a leader.  As a leader, your words carry more weight & they have more staying power.  Your words get amplified & magnified.

Through the years I have been amazed how many people have come up to me to thank me for something I said to them which impacted their lives. The scary part is how often I did not even remember saying anything to them. 

We need to become experts at speaking life-giving words. Let us be honest.  It is tough out there in the world, especially at the moment, & I feel it will not get any better quickly. We do not live in a world filled with grace & love.  In this world, you get what you pay for (sometimes).  NO free lunch.  NO cutting in line.  Eye for an eye.  Tooth for a tooth.

Like the great philosopher, Norm, from Cheers said “It’s a dog eat dog world and I’m wearing milkbone underwear.”

But as a leader, we get the privilege of speaking life & hope & encouragement into the lives of people. Kind words are like honey—sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.  [1]

And here is the great news.  It does not cost you typically anything to do this & it does not require a line item in your mission & vision statement. It should be simply a part of your culture & values.  And this is not about personality. This is about sensitivity, love & kindness. Worry weighs a person down; an encouraging word cheers a person up.  [2]

I remember when I was in a particularly tough season of my life. It is a long story, but take my word for it, I was not doing well.  And one day one of our team handed me a personal letter for me.  I did not recognize the name on the return address.  I opened it up & it was a two page hand-written letter from the mother of one of the girls who had been on my team.

In the letter she talked about how much I had influenced her daughter. The letter came at just the right time. I folded it up & put it in the pocket of my planner & over the next few months I read the letter several times.  I cannot even begin to tell you how much life I took from this two-page letter. And it was all because someone took the time to speak revitalising words.

The biggest enemy of blessing people with your words is not meanness or selfishness, it is HURRY.  So, slow down today and speak into someone’s life.

What is the difference between a good pitcher & a great pitcher? DELIVERY, & maybe steroids but this is for a different article.

To use another analogy, the most dangerous part of any airplane flight is the landing.  And just before the airplane lands, they will talk about the plane being “on approach”.  The approach is critical for a successful landing.  Your approach with words is critical to successful relationships.

It is the “right words” which bring satisfaction.  It is not just the right words, it is also the right delivery of the right words.  Patience can persuade a prince, & soft speech can crush strong opposition.   [3]
Learn to be soft with your words. When you have to have a hard conversation, think ahead of time not just about “what” you want to say, but “how” you want to say it.

By the way, you can be clear & still be soft.  In my life, the biggest roadblock to soft words is an empty soul.  When I am running on fumes, my words are cutting, not kind.  When I am leading on empty, my words are too often cynical, not soft.

In concluding this week, I am reminded of the words from Robin Gibb & the Bee Gees song:                                                                                                              Talk an everlasting words and dedicate them all to me
And I will give you all my love I'm here if you should call to me
You think that I don't even mean a single word I say
It's only words and words are all I have to take your heart away.

So, today, steward the power of your words well.  And remember, what you say matters!

I hope my comments each week are helpful dear readers; & again, provide just an opinion, from my world. Thank you for taking the time to be with me, I hope my journey may encourage you also. This is Kenn Butler in Paradise, Nelson. With my best wishes, I look forward to connecting with you again soon.

[1] Proverbs 16:24 (NLT)
[2] Proverbs 12:25 (NLT)
[3] The point Solomon is making in Proverbs 25:15

Kenn Butler
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