One Word Can Change Your Life

This is a guest post by Chris Morris. Be sure to follow Chris on his blog, and Twitter.

We underestimate the power of conjunctions in our life. Conjunctions are small words, so we ignore their importance. Even the word conjunction gets lost amongst the verbs and nouns of life. But conjunctions are the difference between success and failure.

Chris LoCurto, Leadership, Business, Strategic Planning, LifePlan, #CLoTribe

If gets you dreaming, when gets you doing!

Consider these sentences:

If I become a nurse, I will work in a children’s hospital

Vs.

When I become a nurse, I will work in a children’s hospital.

I want to ride in a hot air balloon if I survive this surgery.

Vs.

I want to ride in a hot air balloon when I survive this surgery.

If my book gets published, it can change lives.

Vs.

When my book gets published, it can change lives.

When is the way I started for my high school varsity basketball team three years after I was cut from the freshman team.

The day I saw my name was not on the final team list, I made a decision: I am going to start for the varsity team my senior year.

I went to the coach and asked him, “What are three things I need to work on to be a starter on varsity by my senior year?” He said interior footwork, quick jumping, and a mid-range baseline jump shot.

I spent hours daily for the next year working on these three things. The whole time, I heard the sound of the home crowd when my name was announced as the starting center. It motivated me to take more shots, jump more times, lift more weights.

My sophomore year, I was a benchwarmer for the junior varsity. The next year, I moved up in the world—I warmed the bench for varsity. During these years, I continued to work on footwork, jumping, and that baseline jump shot.

Senior year summer league comes, and coach announces the starters. I am the starting center for summer league because of my baseline midrange jump shot. I feel like I am living a dream, but it’s only the summer league. I worry I will lose my spot once the real season starts, so I go to coach the night before our home opener. “Am I still the starting center, Coach?”

Chris, you’ve earned it. Your second jump for rebounds is the best we’ve got. Your baseline jumper is nails. Your footwork for defense is good. Who else would I start?

All because I shifted my conjunctions and planned for success.

If focuses on doubt, when focuses on solutions.

If assumes failure, when assumes success.

If strangles creativity, when looks for the best way to achieve its goal.

If is theoretical, when is grounded in reality.

If will probably never happen, when is just a matter of time.

If hopes for a better future, when plans and executes toward that future.

When frees us from fear of failure, allowing us to focus on how to accomplish our goal.

Question: Where do you need more when in your life?

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69 thoughts on “One Word Can Change Your Life”

    1. Aren, that is a very good comparison. i am not always a huge believer in the “positive thinking” approach to life, but when you tie it to a goal that is achievable, the power is pretty remarkable.

      1. Think about running instead of cheeseburgers……. 😉
        Remember, you still have to run a 5k with me, Chris!!

  1. This post is a great way for me or anyone reading to start their day……When I publish my first book, I can picture the moment with deep satisfaction! Thanks for putting this out there

      1. Good point, Chris! Thanks for the reminder. When I write my first book by the end of 2013, I can picture the moment with deep satisfaction. Good to meet you at the Momentum event in OH in March….and hope that your transition is going well….an inspiration for sure!

  2. “If will probably never happen, when is just a matter of time.” – when I read this I thought of the Matrix when Morpheus said, “It’s not a matter of hope. I believe it is simply a matter of time.”

    This is great! It’s definitely much better to focus on acting on what is possible than wondering about the unknown. It’s a much better use of time and produces results instead of stress.

    1. Are you like my high school Bible teacher who swore up and down that the Matrix was a perfect salvation story?? 😉

  3. Great post. It is always the small things that make the big changes. Even the small words. When not if is the most critical in my mind. Good start to the day.

  4. LOVE the post, the story, the message!! WOW!! Almost two years ago I joined this community thinking “one day I will do great things”. Through massive amounts of great information, community support and projecting what I want to achieve, my life now is full of “when”. Thanks @disqus_iKRiED0bXr:disqus for great inspiration for my day!

    1. I always love when you share, Lily! 🙂
      And I’m SO looking forward to seeing where you are in a year, or two, or three…. 😉

  5. Great post Chris! My high school basketball experience is on my future list! I WILL be sharing it next week! The words ‘when’ and ‘will’ create confidence and belief, laying a foundation for possibility.

  6. Great post, excellent message.

    In fact, it reminds me of John Miller’s QBQ – “If” and “why” make poor statements and poor questions. “When I…” and “How can I..” are incredibly empowering!

  7. In the beginning neither word was in my vocabulary. Because I didn’t think I or my dreams were worth anything. Then, “if” became part of my vocabulary. Basically it was just a “the grass is greener” concept. Now, moving into using “when”, its kind if scary 🙂 Do I have the audacity to believe things of myself, etc? I try to focus on the excitement 🙂

    1. Laura, I completely understand what you mean. So often life brings us into a place where we have no if, we have no when, and it’s all “have to.” I have to work this job I hate. I have to pay my bills.

      The transition from “have to” to “If” and then “when” is terrifying but exciting. I would encourage you to find others who can support you and encourage you in your dream. I’d be happy to talk more with you — you can always email me at [email protected]

      1. Thanks for the encouraging words, Chris!
        I do have some wonderful support in this thing called the CLo Tribe 😉 And thanks for the invitation to connect–I will be taking you up on that offer 🙂

  8. Thanks for this, Chris. Such a small shift in words can change our outcomes so drastically. I love that! I’m telling myself as I write this out to make that plan now. “Execute toward my future.” No more “ifs.” Guess I’ll have to see if I actually do it. 😉

    1. I think it works Erik:

      If focuses on doubt, bacon focuses on solutions.

      If assumes failure, bacon assumes success.

      If strangles creativity, bacon looks for the best way to achieve its goal.

      If is theoretical, bacon is grounded in reality.

      If will probably never happen, bacon is just a matter of time.

      If hopes for a better future, bacon plans and executes toward that future.

      YES! Now we have two choices: when, or bacon. Both are victorious

    2. This is the first time that someone tweeting about bacon got me to read an article that I found really helpful. Thanks, Erik! P.S. great podcast!
      P.P.S. why did it take this long for tweeting about bacon to improve my life?

    1. James, we’ve had some good conversations over the last year about how important words are in the writing journey. In large part, those conversations and my own thoughts on them have inspired me writing this post.

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