Exclamation points are contagious! (In the best possible way!) Traditionally a form of punctuation that evokes enthusiasm and strong feelings… exclamation marks are a 2020 appropriate tool in personal as well as professional commentary and communication.
While they may traditionally seem insincere and overly happy in business settings, now more than ever before, it is important to inspire and communicate a sense of good-will and elevated emotions peppered throughout our correspondence. Like the icing on a cake, the exclamation point is a significant add-on to the topic at hand. Used sparingly but mindfully, exclamation points allow us not only to transfer happy thoughts, but they can actually lift us up as we use them.
Over the course of this pandemic I have written countless emails or texts and then gone back in to edit them only to add, as appropriate, an exclamation point to emphasize strong feelings, surprise, joy, or enthusiasm. In a world without hugs, with an emphasis on social distancing, exclamation points, like emojis on social media, allow us to express ourselves from a place of compassion and elevated emotion. They are a friendlier, less formal punctuation mark, coinciding with a much less formal moment in time. While I am not suggesting that you become unhinged in expressing yourself…I do think we all motivate one another and that this begins inside each of us.
People are unhappy right now. There is a lot of unknown. Time to take your power back! The importance of finding your own inner exclamation point is synonymous with finding your own inner joy. Here are 3 things you can do now to support you in doing so:
- Make a list of all the things that you dislike the most in 2020. Then make a contrasting list of all of the gemstones and stellar things that you like most about this moment in time. Compare your lists. Then lean into the things that you like the most mid-pandemic (working from home, more time with family, the ability to start many projects, bonding with nature etc.) When planning your week, mentally de-emphasize those things on your dislike list and support and do more with those things on the list that brings you joy. Build out your action steps from there.
- Every morning ask yourself this: What do I want to emphasize today? What is the main thing I want to give my energy to? At the end of the day ask yourself this: What did I emphasize today? What did I give my energy to? Stay accountable to controlling and owning your energy and with that your emotions.
- Challenge your inner exclamation point by keeping track of grateful, successful, and joyous thoughts. For a week, keep a journal of successes. Big and small, business or personal…jot down whatever wins every day holds. Think of these wins as your unique exclamation points. At the end of the week re-read and recap your successes. Make sure to celebrate what worked, punctuating the moment with an emphasis on joy and surprise.
Finding your personal exclamation mark is like finding your unique on switch! A tapestry of gratitude, humor, enthusiasm, belief, and motivation blended together in a way that speaks to you and allows you in turn to speak to others. Leadership starts with you. What do you want to emphasize? How do you want to emphasize your legacy and punctuate today?