WAEP6 How Your Language is Sabotaging Your Success

It’s a strange world of language in which skating on thin ice can get you into hot water. – Franklin P. Jones 

Your language is sabotaging your success!

(Here’s how you can change that.)

Years ago, during my early training & development career, I learned about E+L=M. 

The concept is simple: Event plus the language used to describe the event equals our motivation to act.

The event is always the same. For example:

(E) Dinner date with a new person

(L) Sh/e is going to think I’m a complete dork/loser/slob/idiot

(M) You cancel the date OR while on the date your actions support the language in your head. You might say things like, “I’m such an idiot for ____.” Or maybe you spill things. Or maybe you go on and on about how you suck at your job.

If you change the language you’re using before that date to:

Sh/e is going to have a great time chatting with me tonight about _____.

Now your motivation to go on the date increases, and the nervousness you might have had, is reframed as “excitement.”

That brings up another idea…

Reframe these words:

problem becomes challenge

nervous becomes excitement

What would you add?


The language we use guides our thoughts. 

Shhhh… your reticular activating system (RAS) is listening.

The RAS likes to filter things for us and does its job super efficiently. It keeps us in tune to things like our name and potential danger, but it also focuses on the things we tell ourselves, so that when we interact with our day-to-day environment, its on the look out for information to filter in that supports what we’re thinking or saying.

OUCH! That could be really scary, huh?

You might have the mindset that this is a bunch of mumbojumbo, but is it?

Have you ever told yourself that you were going to spill your coffee or something else, and then a moment later, you did? Thus reinforcing your clumsiness?

Self-talk can lift you up or bring you down, and your RAS is there to support you either way!

Your challenge this week is two-fold:

  1. For the next 5-7 days pay close attention to how you’re describing the events in your life. Are you using positive or negative language? Are you finding that the outcomes are supporting your positive or negative thoughts?
  2. If you have or work with children, pay close attention to the language they’re using to describe an event. Can you give them the positive language to reframe the event?

Share your thoughts in the comments. What discoveries did you make about your language?

Check out this episode!

About KMiller

Kori Miller began studying self-defense when she was 17 years old. Over the years, her formal practice has seen its ups and downs, but her desire to continue learning never has. She's trained in Tae Kwon Do, Shotokan Karate, and Hapkido. It is this last style that won her heart. Her philosophy is, "don't be there, but if you must, then protect yourself." Your personal safety starts with a healthy respect for situational awareness and using powerfully, positive body language. Kori is an author, speaker, and trainer.
This entry was posted in The Womanly Toolbox and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.