Boy have I missed y’all. Last week I was sailing the Atlantic Ocean on the UberSoca Cruise. That cruise was a WHOLE experience. Maybe one day I’ll give a recap but today we have something else to dive into. Let’s chat about Intent vs Impact. Two weeks ago I had a conversation with one of my most treasured humans (for the purposes of this post we will call him Mr. B). We were talking about the power of words and word choice. In his rebuttal to me on a topic he said, “you may not like what I have to say but…”
Yup that was my reaction. I felt like I was at a dancehall party and I was the selector…(puullllll up). I needed Mr B to rewind and come again because he was already starting off wrong. But Mr. B, being Mr. B, proceeded to say exactly what he had to say and in that moment instead of me going straight
I decided to make it a teachable moment in our relationship.
Mr. B and I discussed intent versus impact. Me, in all my knowledge and wisdom, explained a really simple lesson. Words can’t be controlled once they leave your mouth and while the intent may be good no one cares about intent. People are concerned with impact. You can’t correct impact. All the I’m sorries (not a word) in the world can’t fix impact. Once those words are out there they are out there and you can’t recall it. There is no recall button that you can press in Outlook to bring your words back, stuff it back in your brain and never speak on it again. The receiver of your message has no clue that what you said came from a good place. The receiver only knows the way in which the message impacted them. Our words, in essence, become confirmation to the world about the way we see others and the way we see ourselves.
We not only have to be mindful and thoughtful in our communications, we have to be willing to deal with the impact of our words. If someone is offended by what we say we have a responsibility to try to make it right. But in making it right one must understand that it doesn’t mean that the other person will be willing to accept the apology or reconvene the relationship. Our only defense mechanism to negative impact is checking ourselves at the door. Before we let these words leave our mouth we must do a once over. You know what a once over is. You are getting ready to leave the house, walk out the door but before you do you look in that mirror one more ‘gain. You make sure the hair is laid just right and outfit is popping. Then right before you leave the mirror you get in real close and check those teeth. You make sure not a drop of your pre-game meal is evident. It is then and only then do you walk out the door. The once over allows us to be responsible and accountable for our words and then be prepared for the outcome. If you look in the mirror and you know you look crazy be prepared for the stares and glares. But also know that even if you thought you were hitting, you may still get a few stares and glares. See, just like words…we can’t dictate where and how it lands but once it lands we have to own the impact.
So tell me..do you always think before you speak or are you out here firing off shots all reckless and what not?
I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.
P.S. Despite Mr. B’s IDGAD how-you-take-this attitude that he displayed, we are good. He lives to disagree with me another day and I live to set him straight. (LOL)