Words Matter: How to Talk about Yourself

News broke today that for a limited time, Budweiser will be branding itself “America.” You can read the story here. Before you laugh, many marketing experts have already called it a shrewd move that’ll help drive sales this summer. Ironically, though Budweiser is draping itself in patriotism, it’s actually owned by a non-American company. That won’t stop many consumers from grabbing a Bud, or should I say, grabbing an America to drink with friends at a barbecue this weekend.

What impressed me about this story is this: simply changing a few words on the packaging will change consumer behavior. That fact brings us to today’s simple, powerful self-improvement hack…

Words are Powerful

The words you say have power. I don’t mean this in some sort of metaphysical way. When you choose to describe an object with a particular word, you affect how you and others see that object. A simple example. I can call some one a freedom fighter, a terrorist, an anti-government rebel, or whatnot. Each word carries with it a different image, different associations, and a different set of beliefs in the mind of both the speaker and the listener. Therefore…

Consider How You Talk about Yourself

How do you describe yourself? What words do you choose? You need to follow Budweiser’s example. Budweiser isn’t inherently a patriotic product. In fact, you could easily argue that they are not patriotic at all considering they are not even an American product. But look at what they have done. They choose the packaging, the images, and most importantly the words that indicate patriotism. And if someone grabs a can, lifts it up, and feels pride in America, then maybe Budweiser is patriotic after all. And that brings us to a life rule.

Describe Yourself as You Wish to Be, Not as You Currently Are

Stop waiting! Budweiser becomes patriotic by claiming it. Are you a successful person? No? Maybe that’s why you aren’t. Because you don’t claim that word as yours. So you don’t believe you are; others around don’t believe it either. From today, tell yourself, “I am successful. Say it until you believe it. Then say it to the world. I’m not asking you to be an insufferable arrogant narcissist. Don’t walk up to people saying, “Hi I’m Jamie. I’m super successful.” But if someone asks you about what you do, be proud of your accomplishments. Speak confidently about what you have done. Believe yourself to be a success at whatever level you are at now. And the same goes for all other attributes you wish to be. Do you want to be smarter? Tell yourself you are an intelligent man; then confidently go out and do as an intelligent man would do.

See, if you are always talking negatively about yourself to yourself and to others, then you will find that you will easily fall into behaviors that are in line with your words. You’ll also notice others tending to treat you as if your self-criticisms are in fact true. On the other hand, if you describe yourself in terms of who you wish to be, you’ll naturally find yourself falling into those behaviors as well.

So here’s your homework. In the comment section below, write down just 3 words or phrases you would like to be seen as. Choose them carefully, then write them down. Then, spend the rest of this week telling yourself, believing, that these words are yours.

My 3 words for this week are successful, well-read, and a thoughtful leader. I’m calling myself these things, I am believing I am these things, and the habit I’ll take toward these goals will be to read Seth Godin’s Tribes.


It’s an absolutely fantastic book on leadership, teamwork, success, influence, and business – a must-read I haven’t gotten around to yet. Share your ideas in the comments below!


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