The other day while coaching a client on building her self-esteem and sense of power, I found myself noticing that she often ended her statements with an invisible question mark.
You know what I am referring to and I am sure you have done it yourself multiple times, usually without realizing it. The most amazing thing to me is that people use the invisible question mark to make a statement that has absolutely no question of being a question.
Take these statements, for example. Notice your reaction.
I believe in justice for all! Vs. I believe in justice for all?
I know I am a good person! Vs. I know I am a good person?
That guy is a jerk! Vs. That guy is a jerk?
Are you catching my drift? (Now that was a real question).
When you speak with a question mark, you diminish the power of your words. Indeed, it can a reflect a lack of inner power or at least a belief in your own power.
Try it out for yourself and notice how you feel saying the above statements out loud. Which makes you feel weaker and which stronger?
When I pointed this out to my client, she took pause, considered what she was doing, agreed that she felt more powerful when using an exclamation mark by her statements, but then proceeded to question mark her statements again several times, until it got kind of funny. By the end of the session I simply would catch her and say, “Are you a question mark or an exclamation mark?”
It was this last question that made me think about writing this blog. It made me think about myself and how I present myself in my life. Am I a question mark or am I an exclamation mark? Am I strong in my beliefs? Does my self-esteem on the inside translate to the outside? When do I become a question mark?
If you find yourself often using such an inflection in your statements, how convicted are you in your beliefs? How determined are you to have your voice heard?
Or better yet, how scared are you of being judged, being heard or making a mistake?
The journey to owning your power is one that involves using your voice, being and determined to state what you believe, even if someone may disagree or find you wrong.
If you are indeed uncertain, than ask a question.
But if have a belief or are certain of a fact, state it like you own it.
Now you don’t need to shout, thump the table, or waves your hands about like a lunatic. There is no need for force or forcing other people to hear you. Such actions still reflect a certain kind of inner weakness, a belief that you are not being heard and need to push harder.
When you speak calmly with conviction, it reflects you standing in your power, not really caring if you are being heard, but knowing none-the-less, that you are.
The practice of owning your words, intentionally not speaking with a question mark, is actually a great way to build your self-esteem and sense of inner power. Take the time to find your center, check your conviction regarding whatever you are speaking about, then say it like you own it.
You got this.