Have you noticed how amazing everyone is these day? If not, just listen.
Somehow we’ve become surrounded by all these amazing people who do amazing work with amazing colleagues in amazing places during these amazing times.
Someone may be saying that you’re amazing too.
By definition, to be amazing means one needs to affect others with great wonder, to astonish. That means creating great surprise or marvel (yes, marvel).
That’s a tall order like a Starbuck’s Frappuccino Grande with whipped cream. Amazing or simply as ordered?
Reality or hyperbole?
What we do and how we do it characterizes our performance. Our bosses and coworkers form opinions and express them, sometimes to each other, to you, or on your performance appraisal.
The words they use might be fact-based or baseless assumptions. Sometimes people just say anything to fill in conversational space–no words of value extended.
We’re all prone to exaggerate at times, especially when we’re enthusiastic about something.
Hyperbole is a figure of speech that uses exaggeration for emphasis or effect. You might use it when you:
- Announce a new hire: “She’s the answer to all our fears about the new app.“
- Give performance feedback: “You carried the whole group on your shoulders this year.“
- Announce a promotion: “Jack out-maneuvers any crisis.”
Hyperbole only has effect when it has context. Saying, “We hired Mary who is amazing and promoted Jack who is also amazing and have you to thank for your amazing performance,” leaves us with no real information about them.
We need the right words to communicate what we mean because without them we end up adrift. At work we need clear words so we:
- know what to do and how to do it
- understand if we’re doing things correctly or not
- remain motivated to keep growing
Words comes from outside and within, defining us and our world. Words have real, undeniable power.
Sometimes, though, we get ourselves in situations where we:
- don’t know what to say
- are caught off guard
- forgot what we planned to say
- don’t care about the issue or person
Of late, when people are caught short, they just say: “He or she or it was amazing.” (If you don’t believe me just listen to a talk show, the news, ads, an interview, your friends, or yourself. Consider counting the “amazings” in your day.)
Answers like “amazing” (or “This is crazy or nuts or awesome.”) are equally part of the workplace.
An amazing recovery
Empty words create malnourished communication. In a marketplace where you need to standout to be discovered, you need to speak and write using words that mean something.
When everything is said to be amazing, suddenly nothing is or can be. When everyone is amazing, nothing differentiates one from the other.
To believe that we are continually amazing becomes delusional. Praise words and laudatory phrases are wonderful. They become an issue when the words don’t come with context.
If I’m amazing at work, then in what ways do I astonish:
- Do I get more accomplished in a day than my coworkers?
- Do I produce fewer errors?
- Have I achieved a standard of customer satisfaction performance that exceeds goals?
- Do I work more calmly under stress than most?
No one performs at the top of their game all the time. So when you’re not creating wonder, you have skills and behaviors to work on. That’s how you grow and continue to raise the bar.
Amazing is rarefied air, breathed briefly under special conditions, so you must keep reaching.
Let’s fix this.
Words are power tools. Communication is enriched by those who use words to convey what they mean, not to fill space with empty sounds.
If you want to distinguish yourself, commit to using language that delivers insights, ideas, perspectives, viewpoints, and feedback clearly. I’ve stricken “amazing” from my vocabulary for now. I don’t want to sound like the echo of our times. Like you, I want to sound like myself.