The phrase four-letter word refers to a set of English-language words written with four letters which are considered profane, including common popular or slang terms for excretory functions, sexual activity and genitalia, blasphemies, terms relating to Hell or damnation when used outside of religious contexts, or slurs. The "four-letter" claim refers to the fact that many (but not all) English "swear words" are incidentally four-character monosyllables. The term was used in this sense as early as 1886 in the United States and Great Britain. (Wikipedia)
Out of the 5,000 or so English words that begin with the letter “F”, there is only one word we refer to as “the F word”. The F word is thought to come from the German word fricken which means “to strike” or “to hit”. It may also come from the Swedish dialectal word focka (“to strike” or “to copulate”) and/or the Dutch word fokken (“to breed”). Some say it is an acronym for “For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge” or the Irish “Fornication Under Consent of the King”. All of these origins are still unproven, and most are considered false.
The Oxford English Dictionary suggests that “the first definite evidence for the word comes from a 1528 manuscript found in Oxford”. Going as far back as the 13th century, however, historians have also come across surprising surnames related to the term, including John le Fucker (1278), Fuckebegger (1287) and Simon Fukkebotere (1290), which suggests that the word was used far before the 16th century. Also, records from Bristol dated 1373, refer to a town near Bristol called “Fockynggroue,” which may have been named for a remote place where couples eloped. Very romantic place. TripAdvisor rates it highly for honeymoons.
Why have I spent so much time covering such a foul, vulgar word? First of all, I tried not to actually write out the word in the three paragraphs above. I believe if you go back you will see references to the F Word but not actually the word itself. If I did or if you see it in the middle of any of the words above and it causes you distress, I apologize. I just went back to re-read what I posted above hoping it wouldn't be there but I do admit I see it in the middle of some of the words.
Today I am taking back that phrase, four letter word. There are many 4 letter words we should welcome into our vocabulary and into our workplace. The marketplace needs more four letter word people. Not those who drop the F word as often as they exhale, but people who welcome strong character building 4 letter words into their public & private life, into their workspace and into their homespace.
Here is a list of some of my favorite four letter words:
1. WORK: Colossians 3:23,24 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.
This one should be obvious. Have you ever hired someone for your business who simply does not put in the work? Have you ever been the person who was hired to do a job and you failed at it because you simply didn't put in the work? Did you always do the work when you were a student? Did you do both your schoolwork and your homework? Have you ever seen a project fall apart because the people involved simply did not put forth an adequate level of work?
Work is an important ingredient for success. If you have team members who are not willing, ready and able to put in the work, either move them to a department where they are more capable of giving you a proper level of work, or get rid of them. There is nothing wrong with downsizing a team or a company if there is dead weight in it. I have no issues getting rid of dead weight individuals.
Work is an important ingredient for harmony. If you have 100 people on a team and less than half are hard workers, you may never reach your highest potential. If half are hard workers, they may develop contempt for the ones that are not putting in as much work but enjoying the benefits. If most of your team members are hard workers, then you can succeed. Finally, if you as the head of your team are the hardest, most dedicated worker, putting the best foot forward, you will undoubtedly find that your team members will either fall in line and work as hard as you, or get off the line and make space for others that will.
2. HARD: Proverbs 13:4 The soul of a lazy man desires, and has nothing; But the soul of the diligent shall be made rich.
This is a four letter word that many people run from as if it is a plague. The word hard can either be seen as a good thing or a bad thing. If one of my friends gives me a soft love tap, I'll laugh it off and return the favor. If one of my friends gives me a hard punch in the face, depending on my mood that day, I may return the favor. If I'm coming up on a necessary stop while driving, my wife's mood will change depending on how soft or hard I hit the brakes. That's just two examples of how the word hard can be negative.
Today let's focus on the positive side of this hard hitting word. I'll start with a funny one. A hard head when it comes to kids and to people you are in charge of is not something you pray for. But let me tell you about a guy (ME) who fell off his roof on June 11, 2022. I dropped 10 feet straight onto cement and landed head first. I bounced off the floor and as my neighbor describes it, I was so perpendicular to the floor that I bounced upward, off the pavement, like a pogo stick bounces off the ground. I went to the emergency room and we all expected the worst. After numerous tests, including a CT-Scan, MRI and other detailed examinations, the doctors were all amazed that I didn't suffer anything more than a gash on my head that required 4 staples. I didn't even have a concussion. So while hard headed people are a pain, my wife (who witnessed the fall) is grateful that her husband is hard-headed.
In business, hard can be both good and bad. Some people are so allergic to working hard that they will never reach their full potential. Others are so addicted to working hard that they will never figure out how to work smart (intelligently). There has to be a real balance to your approach towards hard work. You must use wisdom, experience and discernment when deciding to work hard because the situation calls for it, and when to work smart because it is what is called for. I will admit that in most situations, it is the person who is willing to work the hardest and put in the greatest effort who will come out on top. I have no patience for lazy people.
3. BEST: 2 Timothy 2:15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
Whatever you do, always do your best. This should be self explanatory, but the truth is that in business, people are content with being good enough, doing less than what they are capable of, never giving one inch over what they are asked to do. Yet God's Word tells us that if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well, and if asks you to go one mile, go with him two miles (Matthew 5: 40, 41). So why are people not willingly going the extra mile for others?
Today's society is very self-centered. People are taught to look out for themselves first. Working with true Kingdom people (Christians) means that you work with a person who will always go above and beyond for you. If you are believer and you have people working for you, make sure they know they can expect the same from you. There is no more rewarding action in any group setting where the leader is willing to go the extra mile for his team, even for the leader.
4. WILL: Philippians 2:13 For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.
There are plenty of people who say they want to do the right thing, but when it comes down to it, they lack the will to do so. In business, let others describe you as an individual that doesn't only have the idea, but who also has the will to carry that idea out.
You know, for years I worked for others, consulting as an employee for their businesses, working behind the scenes, desiring to go off on my own but lacking the will to do so. The day I stepped out in faith and started my own business was a liberating day, and it would have never taken place if I had lacked the will to go after my dreams.
Les Brown once said, “the graveyard is the richest place on earth, because it is here that you will find all the hopes and dreams that were never fulfilled, the books that were never written, the songs that were never sung, the inventions that were never shared, the cures that were never discovered, all because someone was too afraid.” It is clear that the people who died before fulfilling God's assignment for their lives clearly lacked the will to do so.
5. SOLD: Proverbs 23:23 Buy the truth, and do not sell it, also wisdom and instruction and understanding.
There is a scene in Boiler Room where Jim Young (Ben Affleck) talks about the art of making sales calls where he explains; "And there is no such thing as a no sale call. A sale is made on every call you make. Either you sell the client some stock or he sells you a reason he can't. Either way a sale is made, the only question is who is gonna close? You or him? Now be relentless, that's it, I'm done." That's the same type of hard selling that we see in the movie Glengarry Glen Ross where Blake (Alec Baldwin) says, "A-B-C. A... Always, B... Be, C... Closing. Always be closing. ALWAYS BE CLOSING!" This is not the type of selling I am speaking on on here.
When I speak about sold, I'm not talking about you selling people on you or on your position, but rather you selling yourself on the position that you stand on. If you believe in something, it is not your job to convince others (recruit) to your position. Strong leaders make their beliefs a part of their lifestyle, their business culture and their identity. They make their position so attractive that they let others convince themselves (attract) to adopt that position. Great leaders do not recruit, they attract partners, followers, associates, supporters, and other leaders.
A-B-C, A... Always, B... Be, C... Convinced. If you truly believe that your position is the right one, be so convinced of it that you are willing to stand your ground on it and attract like-minded people. Don't ever compromise or sell your truth. Invest it and buy into it, don't sell it. Others will buy into it as well.
6. GIVE: Deuteronomy 15:10 You shall give to him freely, and your heart shall not be grudging when you give to him, because for this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in all that you undertake.
One of the greatest feelings I have ever experienced is the feeling I get when I give generously. To be able to give, one has to have something to give. Therefore, if your heart is pure and you don't operate from greed, it is righteous for you to want to earn more. See, the more you have, the more you will be able to give.
Philanthropy is the desire to promote the welfare of others, expressed especially by the generous donation of money to good causes. A wealthy person has a lot more to give than a poor person does. Yet even a poor person can give cheerfully. So whether you are in a position to give a million dollars, or in a position where all you can give is a hug, give it all cheerfully.
Now I'm talking about giving cheerfully and willingly, not being forced or forcing anyone to give. This is why Socialism, Marxism, Communism, and even Democracy are flawed. All of them force people to give things they don't want to give up, some going after the rich and forcing them to give, and others going after the poor and taking even from their lack. Good giving has to be willful, not forceful.
It is awesome to be able to give. When I didn't have money to give, I volunteered time. I made it a point not to say no to a friend who asked me for help. I was willing to help you move and make you dinner while you unpacked. Today I can pay someone to help you move if you cannot afford the help and if I can't spare the time. But when able, I still prefer to volunteer my time. See, I can always make the money back. When I give you my time, I am giving you something I can never get back. This is why I see the FREE half hour consultation I give away the most valuable gift I can give. I am giving you half an hour of my time while asking for nothing in return.
7. TRUE: Proverbs 12:22 Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who deal truthfully are His delight.
Please, if there is one thing you remember from this blog post, remember to always be real and say the truth. Many leaders have fallen because they were dishonest. Some of them were fairly good people. Not one of them was 100% good but many got close to it. Unfortunately they lied. They did not tell the truth.
My wife and I spent a long time in real estate and we heard many little sayings about lying. We're talking about phrases like, "buyers are liars and sellers are storytellers." Or the one about attorneys, "good liars make the best lawyers." Hey, not even us Realtors got away from this. I was once told that, "the truth is whatever the agent will invent", or "a rich Realtor is a rich predator." All of these are generalizations and lies in themselves. Not all buyers and sellers lie, not all lawyers lie and not all Realtors lie.
One thing no one can say about me, my wife or anyone we've hired at GC Rosario Group is that any of us are liars. We've vetted our people with great care. Our reputation as a company that thrives on integrity matters to us. That means that anything we say, post or share is true to the best of our knowledge.
Protect your brand, your reputation and your word. Make sure that your word is stronger than any accusation that may ever arise against you. Make sure your word is unshakeable.
Be sure you can say the same thing about your company.
8. LOVE: John 15:12 This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Proverbs 17:17 A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.
I hope you're not gonna be like Tina Turner and ask what's love got to do with it? If you ask me, it is what holds it all together. As a leader, you have to have a healthy level of love for what you do. You have to have a healthy level of love for your team. As a leader, you have to have a healthy level of love for your clients or targeted audience. As a leader, you have to have a healthy level of love for yourself.
Have you ever heard of millionaires and even billionaires who commit suicide. Their bank account told a story of success and social status. Their lifestyle probably told people they were happy. Their fans showed they were adored by many. Their businesses were evidence of hard work by someone who put their best foot forward, who had the desire to succeed and the will to carry it out, many of them being sold on their industry, many of them were honest and many of them gave freely to others. So, what was missing? L.O.V.E.
L - Listen:
If I asked the five closest people to you, would they say you are a good listener? If you want to reach out to my wife and ask her about my commitment to being a good listener, you can reach her here: Claudia P. Rosario.
O - Overlook:
Are you someone who holds grudges? Would people describe you as someone who forgives others and focuses on the good instead of the bad?
V - Value:
Do you aim at bringing value to the table? Whenever you are negotiating, the person who proves his value wins. Whenever leading, the leader who brings value to his team will attract loyal followers. Are you only looking to have people bring you value, or to bring value to others?
E - Encourage:
A great leader encourages and edifies the members of his team. Be encouraging and they will deliver more.
The + 1 ... LIVE
No matter what you do in life, make sure you have a life. While the success of your team, your business or your organization is important, it is not more important than your life. Therefore, if you are launching any project or jumping into an existing one, whether you are in the start-up phase or the scale-up phase, do not neglect the need to live and continue living a fulfilling life. Give yourself and your team the permission to seek good quality of life.
Conclusion: Leadership is demanding. Leaders will be judged by a much harsher measure. When you are a leader, make sure you study the greats and learn from them. I know I still have a lot of studying to do, but I have surely chosen a worthy model in my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Who is yours?