Words Are the First Step Towards Your Future

If you’re a baby boomer like me (I’m 54), I would bet that on Jul 20, 1969, you were glued to a television screen. You were watching in amazement as Neil Armstrong stepped off of the Apollo Lunar Module and onto the surface of the moon.

What I enjoy most about this story is that it started in earnest less than nine years earlier with a conversation in Washington D.C.

At a meeting in May, 1961, our U.S. president, John F. Kennedy, challenged Congress, NASA, and the nation by making this statement, “I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth.”

JFK’s words served as the catalyst for what became an amazing journey to the moon and back. His words created a vision of the future for the nation’s space program.

I was reminded of this story because of some words I’ve found myself using lately. At a recent business meeting, I picked up on the phrase “break out”, and have since begun using it to describe the upcoming year of 2012.

The idea of a “break out year” suggests to me that my business is going to expand and grow in amazing ways. It suggests that good things are in store for my family too. I find that simply using and hearing the words generates a new level of positive excitement inside of me.

Of course, just like NASA did following Kennedy’s challenge, I know that specific actions are needed to make my “break out year” become a reality. I recognize this, but it doesn’t diminish my appreciation that it is words and language that are the starting point for defining what my future can be.

“The best way to predict the future is to invent it.” Alan Kay (Computer scientist)

Question: What words are you regularly using to describe the future you want to create for yourself, for the people who matter most to you, or for your organization?