The first book that I want to work with is You Are What You Say by Dr. Matthew Budd. This book details how Dr. Budd used simple speaking and physical exercises to treat people with stress-related illnesses through his Ways to Wellness Program at Harvard University. Through teaching his patients simple things like how to make a request, how to fulfill commitments, and how to decline demands he was able to bring people back into their natural state of health.
Remember the last death march you survived to complete a project? Then you remember the stress you felt and the burnout you experienced when it was over.
One of the most valuable features in the book is his list of “linguistics viruses” and the “linguistic vitamins” you can take to avoic getting sick.
I will devote my next series of posts to how these virues can make a project sick and how the vitamins can “innoculate” a project against failure.
I offer the following list of language viruses and vitamins from his book as a lens for all of us:
The Ten Linguistic Viruses from “You Are What You Say”
- Not Making Requests
- Living with Uncommunicated Expectations
- Making Unclear Requests
- Not Observing the Mood of Requesting
- Promising Even When You Aren’t Clear What Was Requested
- Not Declining Requests
- Breaking Promises Without Taking Care: Undermining Trust
- Treating Assessments as the Truth or as Assertions (Facts)
- Making Assessments Without Rigorous Grounding
- Making Fantasy Affirmations and Declarations
Five Linguistic Vitamins For Health and Well-Being from “You Are What You Say”
- Make Clear Requests
- Decline with Respect and Dignity
- Listen to Assessments as Assessments, Not as the Truth
- Convert Complaints to Clear Requests
- Promise Soundly and Take Care of Broken Promises