I wanna talk to you about the word “we.”

My whole life seems to have been one big experiment in figuring out how to build trust. First with Girls on the Run and now with The Red Boot Coalition!  

Ya’ll. Trust is my thang!!!!

And now that I’m “in the business” of building trust and creating safe spaces where trust can be built…I’ve had time to really examine what words and processes build trust and which ones block it. 

AND I have seen and experienced how when I use the word “we”…a conversation can go off rails really quickly and escalate into a debate…and possibly even into a full-blown argument. 

It doesn’t matter if I am talking with one of my friends, kids or colleagues, when I use the word “we”…it will shut that baby down as quickly as asking my kids to eat my cooking. 

“Naw,” your thinkin’. “We” is an inclusive word. It brings people into the collective. It implies “We are united and stand together” and isn’t that what we want right now?”

Well…yes and no. It would be great if “we” were united and standing together, but based on a post I shared yesterday…one I was sure would elicit a collective shout of “We agree!”..I am learning this is simply not the case. 

So let’s say…you and I are discussing what’s at the root cause of Charlotte’s current situation. 

I say…”We just don’t trust each other anymore. There’s not enough trust. People need to stop making so many negative assumptions and just start trusting each other.”

Sit with this a minute and see how what I’ve written feels. 

Now let’s replay using “I statements.”

“For me and from what I’ve read and experienced…I think it comes down to trust. I’m working on ways I can bring more trust into my life. I’m looking at different ways I can be more trusting of those who are not like me.”

Now sit with this way of sharing. Magic right?

I have noticed two things happen when I speak using my “I” voice. 

First it OPENS…it seems to invite differing points of view. 

Second…it makes me ACCOUNTABLE to the solution. Instead of saying “we need to be more trusting” I say “I need to be more trusting.” 

There’s a big difference. 

I know. I know. Many great leaders have said it before…

Change begins with me. I need to be the change I wish to see.