Spirit Driving Institute Leila Johnson – Transformation Teacher


The Land of Obligations

Last week, I had several sales and project meetings, was finalizing the publication process for my book, and was trying to schedule time to go to Balloon Fiesta. Although I consider myself to be pretty organized, every morning I found myself saying things like this:

  • I need to make the agenda for this meeting.
  • I have to assign tasks for this project.
  • I should take time to research this problem.
  • I have to review this before I can pass it on to the next person.
  • I need to find time to schedule a follow-up meeting.

You'll notice that these all use obligatory words: 'need', 'have to', 'should'. I realized that I was placing pressure on myself to get things done on a deadline that actually could have been more flexible.Words are powerful and carry a certain energy with them. I found that the words themselves made me feel worn down and overburdened.

I was automatically giving the tasks negative connotations and assuming that I wouldn't have time to complete them. My time is very important to me. If you've read my book, you'll remember that Time is one of the four Success Drivers or ways that you can define success for yourself. So, I'm not surprised that Time was an important factor in the way I was viewing my workload.

Just for fun, I decided to become more aware of when I used these obligatory words. I was shocked by how often I did it whether I was talking to myself or someone else. After taking this mental inventory, I decided I would replace the words with others that had more positive energy. I call this 'flipping the script'.

Here are the same phrases with those replacements:

  • I plan to make the agenda for this meeting today.
  • I'll make time to assign tasks for this project.
  • I think it would be good to research this problem.
  • I'll provide my feedback on this so that I can pass it on to the next person.
  • I'll be able to schedule a follow-up meeting.

Replacing words might seem like a completely pointless thing to do, especially if you're only saying the words to yourself. I encourage you to monitor your obligatory words anyway. They might not be the same as mine and that's OK. I'll bet that you will find your attitude about the task changes just by making that change in wording.

P.S. I did manage to fit in time for all of the work I wanted to do and an early morning Mass Ascension at Balloon Fiesta!

About Leila Johnson

Rev. Leila Johnson's book, Driving to Success: Let Your Spirit Take the Wheel, is a spiritual retreat for overachieving entrepreneurs and professionals who want to redefine the answer to "What do you want to be when you grow up?". Leila is President and Co-Owner of Data-Scribe, an information technology systems integration and modernization firm providing services to businesses, nonprofit organizations, and government agencies. As part of her journey on the road of life, Leila has earned her Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry and in the Metaphysical Sciences. She also holds her Master of Divinity and is an ordained reverend. Prior to starting her business, Leila worked as a call center coach, curriculum developer, and trainer in the financial and insurance industries.