#2: How to Bring Your Ideas into Being
with Nicola Vetter & Peter Axtell
January 17, 2023 | 20 Minutes
On "Inside-Out Career Design" this week, hosts Nicola Vetter & Peter Axtell speak about
You have the power, today, to begin to create your future, to bring it into focus, and to bring it closer by simply using the power of the words you speak. And when we say, “language is generative,” we mean that what you say – to yourself and to others – generates what you see and feel and how you show up in your life and work. It feeds and reinforces your beliefs. And if you don’t know exactly what it is you’re even trying to do or create, this episode will give you some ideas. And when you take action, you get results.
Some questions we discuss for you to reflect on
- What reality are you creating for yourself right now?
- How do you feel about where you are?
- How do you feel about your future, about what’s possible for you or not?
- How do you use language in a destructive way against yourself?
- And how do you feel in your body with negative self-talk?
- Do you really want to get unstuck, or do you feel safer in your known misery?
- What story are you telling yourself?
- Is it a story of possibilities or defeat?
- What declaration will you make today to move your life forward?
- What requests can you make of someone else?
- Who can you think of right now that could help you move forward, even in a small way?
- Who could you open up to to give yourself another perspective?
- What offers can you make to whom that will be of value to them (with no strings attached)?
- Which promises will you make?
- What is your public identity?
With all your answers to these questions, be as specific with examples as you can, just like we did in this podcast. And commit to trying this approach for the next 30 days.
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Books, resources, and people mentioned in this episode
- Oliver Burkeman: Four Thousand Weeks - Time Management for Mortals
- Chalmers Brothers: Language and the Pursuit of Happiness - A New Foundation for Designing Your Life, Your Relationships & Your Results
- Professional Video Conferencing Essentials Library (exclusively for our Figure Out What’s Next program clients)
- Neil Armstrong - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neil_Armstrong
- John F. Kennedy - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_F._Kennedy
- King Charles - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_III
- Madonna - https://www.madonna.com/
About the Inside-Out Career Design Podcast
This podcast is obsessed with answering a single question: Is it possible to create an authentic, meaningful, and fulfilling life you love while building a successful and rewarding career?
Join Nicola Vetter and Peter Axtell, co-founders of the WhatsNext.com Career Insights platform and creators of the groundbreaking MotivationFinder assessment, as they follow their obsession with answering this question by sharing their insights, discoveries, and life lessons and talking with career experts, leaders, spiritual guides, psychologists, data scientists, coaches -- anyone and everyone who might hold a strategy or answer to the age-old questions of “what’s next for me?” and “what should I do with my life?”
They seek to transform suffering into joy for millions of people stuck and confused in their lives and careers.
Get ready to be inspired, motivated, and above all, to connect deeply with who you are and what you are meant to do with the time you’ve been given.
Nicola Vetter 00:00
It's like a leader clearing the way through the forest for others to follow and support what the leader is envisioning. In this case, you are the leader, creating that future possibility for yourself and the people you care about.
Peter Axtell 00:19
Welcome to Inside-Out Career Design. In this show, we're obsessed with answering a single question. Is it possible to create an authentic, meaningful, and fulfilling life you love while building a successful and rewarding career? My name is Peter Axtell, and I'm here with Nicola Vetter. We're co-founders of the WhatsNext.com CareerInsights platform, and creators of the groundbreaking MotivationFinder assessment. Join us as we seek to transform suffering into joy for millions of people stuck and confused in their lives and careers. We'll share our insights, discoveries, and life lessons and talk with career experts, leaders, spiritual guides, psychologists, data scientists, coaches, anyone who might hold a strategy or answer to the age-old questions of: "What's next for me?" and "What should I do with my life?" Get ready to be inspired, motivated, and above all, to connect deeply with who you are, and what you're meant to do with the time you've been given.
Peter Axtell 01:23
Are you trying to figure out what to do with your life, to figure out what to do with the precious time you've been given on this earth? Or to figure out what only you as a remarkable and unique individual can bring into this world? If you are, please join us for one of our live and completely free online workshops, where we cover different topics to help you figure out what to do with your life and career without wasting precious time, taking wild guesses, or risking it all. To save your spot in our next live and free workshop go to WhatsNext.com/workshops. We can't wait to see you there. Again, that's WhatsNext.com/workshops.
Nicola Vetter 02:17
Hello, and welcome to another episode of the Inside-Out Career Design Podcast. How's everybody doing? I hope you're staying warm out there. It's minus 12 Fahrenheit in Denver right now. So, I'm Nicola, and I'm here with Peter. And we are so grateful that you are spending this time with us. Today, we'll talk about a powerful idea. This idea that language is generative, which is just a fancy way of saying, you have the power to create with your own words. It might feel like a strange idea, but stick with us. If you are trying to figure out what's next in your life and career, then you are in the process of creating your future. All of this can feel so confusing and overwhelming. And you might not know exactly what it is you're even trying to do or create. You might feel that it'll take months and years of hard work. Or you might not be able to break out of old habits, or thought patterns that are keeping you stuck.
Peter Axtell 03:49
All of this can keep you stuck in the present, stuck where you don't want to be. But you have the power today, to begin to create your future, to bring it into focus. And to bring it closer by simply using the power of the words you speak. Now, we're not saying this is magical that you say something and then it happens automatically. We're only saying that you can use your words, a specific type of words, and language to create a possibility that leads to action. And when you take action, you get results. Now when we say language is generative, we mean that what you say to yourself and to others, generates what you see and feel and how you show up in your life and work. It feeds and reinforces your beliefs. What reality are you creating for yourself right now? How do you feel about where you are, about your future, about what's possible for you or not?
Nicola Vetter 05:03
Language is often used in a negative way, when you feel stuck, which reinforces not only that feeling of being stuck, but also the possibility to never move forward. And in that way, language is pretty destructive. Like, I'll never find meaningful work. Or try this, say the most negative thing you can think of right now. Really give it some oomph. How do you feel in your body now? Here's a thought. Maybe subconsciously, you don't want to get unstuck. Because at least you know, and are in a strange way comfortable in your own known misery. Anybody out there know someone like this?
Peter Axtell 06:04
If you want to get unstuck, you need to get moving. Without knowing exactly where you'll end up. The idea is just to move even a little. You're moving into uncertainty, which is uncomfortable for sure. The truth is, we're all moving into uncertainty all the time. I'd like to suggest that becoming an observer of your language, and the conversations you're having with yourself and others, is a transformative skill. What story are you telling yourself? Is it a story of possibilities, or defeat?
Nicola Vetter 06:50
We'll now share how you can create new positive possibilities through language or bring a future that doesn't yet exist into reality, which is how the author Chalmers Brothers puts it. Now when I first started to study how language generates, it really bent my mind for a while, and I felt confused. But hang in there, because you'll see how valuable this understanding is to get you unstuck and moving forward with the power of language. There are few terms we need to learn. There are four possible so called speech acts, a declaration, a request, an offer, and a promise, and we'll discuss them one by one, and how you can use them to create change.
Peter Axtell 07:57
First up, is a declaration an act of speaking, that brings about a future the moment it is spoken. Why spoken? Well think about it. If you never spoke, nobody would hear. Just thinking about something is not going to cause it to happen. That's called magical thinking. Action must be taken and speaking is actio n. Make sense? So a declaration is a strong intention. There's something that's possible, you create something new that you didn't think was possible, like, I believe that it's possible for me to find meaningful work. A declaration is like you're taking a stand for what you want to see in your future. Now, some of you are probably thinking, this is some new age esoteric gobbledygook. Well, remember when JF Kennedy said, We choose to go to the moon in this decade? I'm pretty sure I remember we made it to the moon. It's exactly like that. This stuff works.
Nicola Vetter 09:15
Sometimes, it's described as creating a clearing, an opening for a future possibility to happen. It's like a leader clearing the way through the forest for others to follow and support what the leader is envisioning. In this case, you are the leader, creating that future possibility for yourself and the people you care about. Who would have thought in September 1962, that we would ever be able to go to the moon? As Peter said, Kennedy's declaration became a reality on July 21st 1969, a memorable day, when Neil Armstrong became the first person to step onto the moon. And so can you. Although I suggest starting with smaller steps that are more relevant to your life and career right now. So, think about a declaration you want to bring into reality. It could be something simple to get you started, like, I declare that this weekend, I'll make a list of everything that interests me, and pick one thing to research. I'll give you a second to think about a declaration.
Peter Axtell 10:55
You can move towards making that declaration a reality by using a request, an offer, and a promise, three immediate actions you can take. So let's look at them more closely. Once you've declared what you want to bring into reality, you can start making requests. A request always involves other people, you can't make a request of yourself. Who can you think of right now, that could help you move forward, even in a small way? Think of a request as what you do when you have a concern you want solved and you need help with. For example, you might think, I feel my career's not going in the direction I want it to go. Who could I open up to? To give me another perspective? And while you can't determine how the future is going to turn out, another perspective, could prevent you from giving up. That's why we make requests, because we want to have some influence about what happens in our future, and not just be a victim of circumstances or our fearful thoughts. Therefore, we request help, a conversation, or advice. What this does is that it now created a new possibility for a future that didn't exist before. Because you took action. However, all requests are not created equal. You have to be committed to your request. And you have to judge if the person you are making the request to is even open to listening. Common sense is what's called for here.
Nicola Vetter 12:45
Yes, even though we encourage you to be bold, you might not want to approach King Charles or Madonna without a clear connection. Your request also needs to be very specific and made in the right context. For example, you could ask someone who is in a position or company you'd like to be in: Would you be open to zoom call within the next week about what it's like to work in healthcare today? Of course, you will write a few more lines introducing yourself and why you're interested in the industry and why you approach that specific person. You will need to know that a request can be accepted, declined, or counter offered, meaning with a modification. And sometimes it's even ignored. But don't worry, because whatever happens, it's still moving things forward. Why? Because action gets things moving. Even if your request is ignored, you took the first step, and the next ones will be easier.
Peter Axtell 14:13
If using language in that way is new to you, you might feel more comfortable making offers first. An offer is something of value that you offer someone else. The important thing about offers is they should have no strings attached. A few weeks ago I signed up for a weekend course with Oliver Burkeman, the author of the book "Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals." It's super helpful, and Oliver is a great teacher. We'll add it to the show notes. As the co-creator of a complete Professional Video Conferencing Essentials library I sent him an email and offered to help him with his setup for the online presentation because there's so much bad quality out there. I admit, it was a bit selfish of me, because I didn't want to suffer through bad sound. I received a personal email back from him, thanking me. And we have since exchanged a few emails. And that's how I created a connection, no strings attached. However, I took action towards a future possibility of eventually having him on our podcast at some point.
Nicola Vetter 15:38
We sure hope to get that promise from Oliver one day. And here we are the perfect segway into promises as the fourth speech act. A promise is similar to an offer, but it involves a commitment. It's a YES to a request. That's how promises are created. Promises are connected with your public identity, meaning, are you known to be trustworthy? With your relationships, are you known for keeping your promises and tell others when you can't? In other words, is your word, your bond? And your self esteem, do you feel you are a trustworthy person who makes and keeps promises? That said, a promise can be kept, not kept, or revoked.
Peter Axtell 16:46
I think we need to explain. I can hear you're saying, isn't a promise a promise? Well, yes and no.
Nicola Vetter 16:54
A promise kept builds trust and strengthens your relationships and builds your public identity. And yet, to break or revoke a promise is okay, and sometimes unavoidable, because sometimes, you just can't keep a promise when something is out of your control. But it needs to be done with care, consciously. And you need to be willing to take responsibility for revoking the promise. In other words, you need to let the other party know, quickly and directly, why you have to break your promise.
Peter Axtell 17:40
I want to make this practical for any of you out there that are stuck or need a little boost. Here's a made up scenario. Brenda is 41 years old, gets a regular paycheck, but feels stuck in her job and stuck with what to do about her dissatisfaction. Put yourself in Brenda's shoes for a moment. How can she use the idea that language is generative to get unstuck? She makes a declaration. I declare that I'll get moving and find out what I want with regards to my career. I promise that in the next 30 days, I'll take some assessments to find out more about myself and what I want.
Nicola Vetter 18:29
Brenda gets specific here.
Peter Axtell 18:32
Yep. I also promise to reduce my negative language with myself and others. And I promise to make a request for help. I'll ask my friends what they think I'm good at. Next, I'll find out where I can make an offer to help in a volunteer organization or just volunteer for two hours in the next 30 days. Finally, I promise to write a simple reflection on what I accomplished at the end of 30 days.
Nicola Vetter 19:07
In this example, Brenda made a declaration, several promises including a request and she'll make an offer. I hope someone out there gives this a go.
Peter Axtell 19:24
Thanks so much for joining us here today. For show notes go to WhatsNext.com/2 where we share links and other relevant information. And leave us a comment, a question, or a topic that you'd like us to explore in a future episode. We'd love to hear from you.
Nicola Vetter 19:45
And if you like what you've heard, share it with someone you care about. And subscribe, rate, and review our Inside-Out Career Design podcast on Apple podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts, so you'll never miss an episode. Thanks so much for joining us here today. We'll see you next week for another episode. Same time, same place.