Most people on my mailing list have heard me speak. So it’s likely you’ve heard me talk about my genuine distaste for the phrase “No Problem” (and its brother “No Worries.”)
I tell the story of young man who answered my request for a late checkout time with the word “No” and how my stomach raced and my body raged to understand how I could comfortably squeeze out of my strappy shoes and tummy firming panty hose while simultaneously neatly folding my silk suit into my roll-aboard suitcase while standing on a cold tile floor in the rest room, when I heard the last part of his sentence. “No Problem.”
Now there are two words no customer wants to hear. Just because you put them together doesn’t mean you negate the negativity of either word. In fact, the unconscious part of the mind (about 95%) doesn’t even understand the reverse of an idea so all it hears is: No. Problem.
The language we use structures our reality and impacts the way we feel. “No, I can’t get it to you on Thursday,” feels differently than “What I can do is get it to you first thing on Friday morning.”
They basically say the same thing but one sets an “I can” framework and the other an “I can’t.” Recently I’ve started to use the word “due date” or “finish line” to replace the word “deadline” when referring to the completion of a project. Having come from the high stress newspaper and advertising business where we had deadlines, drop-dead lines and crash burn schedules those words are loaded with connotations of heart racing, adrenaline pumping effort.
I don’t want all that stress in my life so changing the words really helps. Even the Blue Angels, the Navy’s high performance air team, have caught on to the benefits of watching their language. When they do an air show and hit turbulence – they don’t use the word to each other, instead they say “We have texture up here today.” I’m looking for stress free words to replace the stress laden ones of my past too. I catch myself every time I start to use the expression “Kill two birds with one stone.” There’s enough violence out there – it doesn’t need to be in my language.
The body hears everything we say. Positive words strengthen us and negative words weaken us. Neuroscientists have recently discovered that both movement and positive emotions send a signal to our cells to grow.
An active lifestyle speeds up cell renewal while a sedentary lifestyle speeds up cell decay. Positivity hastens cell renewal and negativity hastens cell decay. These are startling findings. What they mean is the very thoughts you think – as well as how often you move your body – determines at the most very basic biological level whether you are choosing a “life-giving” way of being. Even that ubiquitous “No Problem” expression that so many use needs to be examined for the feeling it leaves the receiver (as well as the giver) with.
How many ways can we say that positively?
Certainly! Absolutely! Can do! Will do! Sure thing! My pleasure! Love to! I’ll get right to it! You got it!
See the article with the “No Problem” story here and spread it around. Post it on your website. Challenge customers to find all the positive ways you can express that it’s not only a not a problem, it’s a pleasure to serve.
I’ll bet you have some new people on board who would benefit from learning some new and positive language.
Leave it better than you found it,