Better Words

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The Ancient Greeks had eight words for different types of love. Eros – romantic; philia – affectionate; agape – selfless; storge – familiar; ludus – playful; mania – obsessive; pragma – enduring; philautia – love of self. When I first learned about a more nuanced common language to describe such a big and complex emotion, my first thought was: Our current vocabulary is so lacking for so many things.

I have five different types of olive oil on my kitchen counter – lemon, rosemary, sun dried tomato, regular and black pepper. I don’t have bacon any longer because I’m trying to follow a more vegan lifestyle. Five types of olive oil and a limited, third grade level vocabulary to discuss one of the most important emotions a human can feel? Ludicrous.

The post is part of a mindful series on control – not controlling others, but controlling how you chose to show up. This week seemed a bit out of control – I had zero intentional free time; was rushing from meeting to meeting in my ‘day job’ and then after putting in pretty long hours to keep my two ‘side jobs’ moving ahead, I had to deal with the homework drudgery of having a freshman in high school. And that isn’t even discussing my volunteer work or Agile Best Self work. To keep it all straight, my definition of “job” meets these criteria: a) tax implications (either w2s or w9s are involved); b) deadlines are not always in my control; c) professionalism is required. Summary: I was busy. I’m not complaining, I’m just trying to make the context clear.

In the midst of the 14-16 hour a day of deadlines and stress earlier this week, I had a pre-COVID flashback. This ridiculous schedule (working 8 am – 8 pm or later six days a week) was my pre-COVID world. I certainly don’t want to go back to that! But habits are habits, and I fell back into the overscheduling habit last week.

Back to the title of the post: “Better Words.” I think we need better words to describe intentionally learning the skills we need – such as gratitude, optimism and self control for a start. There needs to be a verb, not a sentence. Instead of “I’m intentionally slowing down and analyzing my inner voices so that I can show up in a way that allows myself and others to be their best self”, I want a simple word. Brian and I have some short hand phrases we use, he likes to use “How can you make the room better?”, which is a great question, but it isn’t a nice quick verb. I think having a better words would help me define what my best self is, and enable others to be their best selves.

Agile Best Self Principle #1: Our highest priority is to be our best self and enable others to be their best selves.

Another reason for better words is that some of the best learning opportunities are “in the moment”, particularly moments where I am not showing up the way I would like to. I’d like to be able to make self corrections the moment I start to veer off path. When I need to focus on the critical task of being intentional or being mindful, I don’t want to stop and have to explain what I’m doing, I want to keep the flow of intentionality and analysis going. Or, if I’m writing about a situation in retrospect, I’d like to have the words to adequately describe the situation to my audience.

I hope I have made my point clear. If not, let’s chat and talk about the better words I can learn from you.

Copyright © 2018 – 2023 Michaele Gardner and Brian Hackerson

Published by MichaeleBestSelf

Connector, Catalyst.

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