When I coach people, it is to discover new things they did not know before – usually new things about themselves. Usually this means that some kind of action is revealed to them – some kind of forward movement or next step.
At the end of every coaching call, my clients make “declarations.” All coaching involves a promise to take action. Without action nothing changes. But I think my coaching school may be the only one that uses the term “declaration” to describe a promise to take action.
My trainer talked to us about the Declaration of Independence as an example of what it means to declare. The Declaration of Independence was a document that brought into being something which had not existed before. There is much power in using declarative language to create your future.
You do not have to use this kind of language all the time. But be conscious the language you are using. We all want to create something in our lives, whether personal, professional, or both. Declarative language has the power to create. Declarations bring into existence something new. They also put your butt on the line. Which may be why we don’t talk this way often. It is a way of truly committing.
To declare is to state with authority and follow through with committed action.
Examples of non-declarative language include: “I’ll try to exercise before the next call.” “I hope I can get that done before we talk again.” Declarative language says, “I will exercise 4 times for 30 minutes before our next call.” “I will complete this part of the project by June 30.”
I make weekly declarations and I send them to my coach. Right now as I type, to the right of my computer is a list. Sometimes it’s long and sometimes it’s very short. Sometimes it’s a declaration to an outcome (I will have 3 people signed up for the August 30 training by July 31). Sometimes it’s a declaration to a process (I will send out 10 emails to potential referral sources by June 20). Sometimes it just has a single declaration (I will connect with my children and feel fun and peace on my vacation).
I look at it every day and I ask myself every day, “what is the committed action I need to take to achieve this?” And then I do it. Every day.
Sometimes I think my list is magic. It is remarkable how often I get what I say I will get on my declarations list. Sometimes I don’t and I look at why and I declare again. But I’ve been doing this so long that it feels like putting things on the list automatically means they will happen. That’s not true of course. I go out and do them. But there is great power in knowing this. And if I am not committed I don’t put it on my list.
Declare and follow through. There is no substitute for creating your life.