You are We, not I

by Brian Brittain on June 7, 2019


Ego equals problems—not just problems our ego inflicts on others, but also on ourselves. I just read of a study from the University of California. The more people use the pronouns I, me, my, and mine the higher the incidence in coronary heart disease and mortality. Another study cited, individuals suffering from depression and anxiety have a higher than average use of first-person pronouns. Psychological Science also cited a study where they found that health improves in people who consciously shift from the use of those first-person pronouns to thinking and speaking more in terms of we, he, she, and you.

Most organizations I work with today are trying to create a culture of integration. This is a mindset which realizes that we are all working inside an ecosystem that enables our individual success and happiness. When you actually “feel” this as a leader you naturally experience gratitude for those around you, and more personal humility. If we operate in terms of “I” we are all in over our heads. Life is too complex and changing too quickly to go it alone. We can only be successful and happy with the support of each other.

The study above struck me because it made me reflect on the many leaders I have coached. Some have used personal pronouns, and others have always talked in terms of “we”, “you” “our”. Consider your own language in this regard when expressing yourself.

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