How one simple word change can change your life

There are so many reasons we feel lonely on a personal level. A lot has been written about this lately. Some smart people are even calling loneliness an epidemic.

At Brains on Fire, we believe that human connection is the most powerful force on earth.

So, you might say we are PEOPLE AGAINST LONELY.

Feeling lonely in your personal life is one thing, but feeling lonely at work is a real killer on many levels. When you’re lonely at work – when you are actually among other people – it’s easy to lose hold of your purpose. And we all know shared purpose at work makes for better work.

One of the biggest self-sabotaging ways of making yourself lonely at work is to consistently use the word I. I am so busy. I worked hard to make this happen. Someone told me once to scrub all your communication at work and replace I with WE. It sounds so simple, but it takes real effort. That effort has been life changing for me. This one simple awareness and change will go a long way to help you replace a feeling of lonely with a feeling of belonging.


  1. When you take yourself out of the center, and put the emphasis on others, you make a mental shift that is powerful. I’ve said this before but a ME-CENTERED UNIVERSE = A MEDIOCRE LIFE.  This “look what we can do together” attitude takes a big, BIG burden off your shoulders. If you never speak of your I accomplishments and only of those you do with others, you see work as a shared responsibility. And you feel less stress. It’s magical, really.
  2. It makes you grateful. When you realize and speak of only those things that happen when people work together, you embrace a feeling of gratitude for the people who work alongside of you. Gratitude is always a good thing.
  3. Reading your emails to get rid of the word I, makes you a much better communicator. It forces you to see the email through someone else’s eyes. That makes you a better writer. And we all need to work hard on our written communication.
  4. Start noticing the people you most admire in your organization. Are they “I people” or “WE people?” Really, start looking at what the people you admire say and do. Then model it.

Such a simple shift, but I will stake my career on the power of this one little change to transform the way you feel at work. So try it.

For the next 24 hours take the WE ONLY challenge. Don’t speak of yourself in the I context unless it is absolutely needed, like “Help me. I am stuck in the door or on fire.” You can use I then. (Smiling.)

Like this post?

Why not share with a friend?