A dear friend used to call me periodically to tell me that she was ready, now--really, really ready--to build her business. One problem: she could not bring herself to actually use the word "business" in her prospecting conversations. She asked, "Is it okay if I use the word, 'enterprise,' instead?"

Of course it was okay, and I told her so. Still, I couldn't entirely dismiss my doubts as to whether or not she was really, really ready to jump in, with gusto and momentum, and build her ... you know, "B."

It reminded me of a scene in Steve Martin's "All of Me." Martin is mourning his advancing age (occasioned by the advent of his 38th birthday), and says to his girlfriend,

"I've been thinking, and you know, maybe we should get--you know, the M word."

And she says:

"Darling, if you can't say the M word, I don't think you're ready to do the M word."

You can't help thinking, the lady has a point.

I don't believe it's possible to overstate how powerful an impact your words have. On others, too, of course, but that's not what I mean. I'm referring to the impact your words have on you.

I worked with another distributor for months to help her excise references to death from her working vocabulary. When she was overtired, she'd say, "Oh gosh, I'm brain-dead." Looking forward to a conversation with a friend, she'd say, "I'm dying to talk with her"; looking back at it, she'd be "tickled to death." She eventually changed these to, "living to talk with them," and "tickled to life." I think she'll live a lot longer now.

When distributors tell you they're going to "try to get organized," they are making a subtle declaration that not only are they presently not organized, but in fact, the attempt to become so runs counter to the status quo and is highly likely to fail. Yoda was right: do, or do not, there is no "try."

Here's another I often hear: "I'm talking to people, but I'm not really pushing the business yet." I don't want you to "push" anything! We're not pushers! If anything, we're pullers; we want to talk with people, not lecture at them.

When people ask you what you do, what do you say? Do you say, "Uh, I'm involved in an enterprise where we help people leverage themselves to take advantage of indirect referral-distribution trends and online-affiliate click-through residual potentials, to gain more freedom in their lives?" (O-kayyy ... sorry I asked.)

Darling--if you can't say the B word, are you really ready to do the B word?


JOHN DAVID MANN is Editor of Networking Times.