ASA 30 | Discovering Your Verb


Host, Alex Mandossian, talks about verbs and why discovering your verb can cause a meaningful change in your life and in the lives of others you interact with. Your verb is your one-word language that expresses who you are and why you do what you do at work. Alex shares his insights on the verbs of thought leaders so you can discover your own and help you to win the hearts of others. Lastly, discover the list of 112 verbs that you may use to discover your own verb.

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Discovering Your Verb

In this episode, you’ll learn three key insights that are critical to making you a highly skilled ethical influencer. You’re going to discover the one-word language that expresses who you are and why you do what you do at work. You’ll be discovering why your verb, once you know what it is, brings more meaning to every human interaction you have.

That could be at a seminar or that could be on any communication on the phone or a webinar. Finally, you’ll be studying verbs of thought leaders and the purpose of that is so that you can discover your verb. This episode could have a significant impact on how you can quickly and easily win the hearts of others.

If English is your second language and I know half of my audience have indicated because they are outside North America. I’m hoping you’ll decide to read this episode and other episodes not once, not twice, but three times. Nothing empowers your fluency in English more than learning the art of ethical influence. It’s super fun and let’s get ready to learn how to discover your verb.

One-Word Language

Read carefully because you no matter how delighted or disappointed you are in your life right now, you have a verb deep inside of you wanting a way out. What does that mean? Your verb is your one-word language that expresses to the rest of the world who you are and why you’re here. Stay with me because during this episode, you’ll know why discovering your verb can cause a meaningful change in your life and in the lives of others you interact with.

At the end of this episode, you’ll have a handout and access to 108 verbs to choose from so you can feel excited about writing your verb down and identifying what it is. The next time your networking or maybe you want to teach this episode to others, you will have more meaningful and intimate interactions with others in business and in your personal life.

I have been an advertising man for many years. The biggest lesson I’ve learned during that time is the one thing that makes a good ad great is the same thing that makes a good leader great. Ethical influence is about thought leadership. If there was one thing I’d like you to learn is how to create movement. Say that to yourself, “Movement.” If you want to risk saying it out loud and no one’s looking say, “Movement.”

Movement is life. Albert Einstein said, “Nothing happens until something moves.” I believe this is true in advertising. It’s true in physics and it is also true in leadership. Without movement, permanent change is not possible.

Advertising Mentors

I want to introduce you to one of my root mentors in advertising. He was a legendary ad man and his name was Leo Burnett from Chicago. He invented these images such as the Jolly Green Giant or Charlie the Tuna, The Marlboro Man. He knew that movement was important. In one year, he put staff to the task of analyzing 62 ads that failed to move merchandise. His clients spent millions of dollars on these ads but they didn’t work. Why did they fail?

According to Burnett, he said it was because these ads had too many adjectives. Leo believed that adjectives don’t move people. They rather spark skepticism and doubt in people’s minds. This episode is not about adjectives it’s about movement. If adjectives are the problem, what’s the solution? It’s not about nouns, persons, places or things. You’ve learned that in grade school.

[bctt tweet=”Your verb is your one-word language that expresses to the rest of the world who you are and why you’re here.” username=”AlexMandossian”]

It’s about verbs because verbs boost your persuasion and ethical influence power to move people. I became obsessed with verbs when I stumbled upon a little book written in 1970. It was written by the great Buckminster Fuller and if you go back to Episode 29, which is the previous episode, you’ll learn all about Bucky Fuller’s story and his Three Unifying Principles.

The book that I read is called I Seem to Be a Verb, the collector’s item. Bucky is my root mentor. Meaning he is the root mentor to all the thought leadership that I’ve learned over the years. As a result of reading that book, I believe there are three ways you and I can live our lives.

We can live as a noun and we can bore people. You and I can live as an adjective and we can cast doubt in people or skepticism, or we can live as a verb we’re human beings but our human doings that create our legacy and our future. Wouldn’t you agree? This is not a theory. It’s true. Verbs create movement, that’s what a verb means. Behavior never lies.

I (Input Your Verb) Therefore I Am

If you’re a parent of teenagers just like I am then you know this is true. That brings me to why I am doing this episode for you. I believe that the greatest thought leaders in history live their lives as verbs. I want to take a few moments to study a few of them.

Let’s take René Descartes. He’s the Father of Western Philosophy and his verb I believe is think, “Cogito, ergo sum,” I think, therefore I am. As a mathematician, as a philosopher that’s the template I work with when I give this talk in front of thought leaders and it’s my TED Talk. The template is, “I (input your verb) therefore, I am.” In René Descartes, in his situation, “I think, therefore I am.” Thank you, Monsieur Descartes.

Socrates is one of my favorite philosophers. He’s known for his Socratic Method, it’s now adopted by the most revered and influential universities in the world. His verb I believe has to be, “I ask, therefore I am.” Einstein believed that if you stop learning, you start dying. Look it up, that’s his quote. That’s not mine so his verb has to be learn, “I learn, therefore I am.”

What about Maria Montessori? She believed in a teaching philosophy that still bears her name nowadays. My kids went through the Montessori educational system. Her verb had to be teach, “I teach, therefore I am.”

Thomas Edison believed in inventing devices that truly influenced lifestyle changes even having impacted now. He’s verb has to be, “I Invent, therefore I am.” Mother Theresa of Calcutta won a Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 living into her verb, which I think is care, “I care, therefore I am.”

There’s Amelia Earhart. I don’t know If you know who she is, but she was someone who loved to fly airplanes. She was a pioneer in air travel and she disappeared somewhere in the Pacific Ocean. I believe she died in her verb, which is a great way to go. I think her verb is fly, “I fly, therefore I am.”

ASA 30 | Discovering Your Verb

Discovering Your Verb: The greatest thought leaders in history live their lives as verbs.


I know you know Steve Jobs. I know you’ve been influenced by Steve Jobs. I would call him an ethical influencer, I don’t think his employees don’t think that but I would call him that. He believed in innovation. He didn’t believe in inventions like Edison. He didn’t invent the MP3 player.

He didn’t invent the tablet or the mobile phone, but I think the vote for his verb was innovate, “I Innovate, therefore I am.” He made things sexier simpler and in a remarkable way sensational by taking inventions and innovating them.

What about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.? He believed in liberation and the advancement of civil rights. I don’t care if you’re Caucasian, African-American or Asian. It doesn’t matter what race you are in, he believed in liberation and he was assassinated because of her verb. I believe that that is a way to go, “I liberate, therefore I am.”

It’s no different in India halfway across the globe. Mahatma Gandhi believed in protecting India’s independence. I think his verb was protect, “I protect, therefore I am.” Warren Buffet is here in North America. He is the Oracle of Omaha. He doesn’t make money. He invests it and he sacrifices short-term profit in exchange for long-term wealth. I think his verb is invest, “I invest, therefore I am.” Are you getting this?

Walt Disney believed in dreaming. He had three nervous breakdowns according to history. His brother kept him above sea level meaning his nostrils were above water because of his brother. He was a dreamer, he wasn’t a business person, but he won 22 Academy Awards living into his verb, which I think is dream, “I dream, therefore I am.”

Unless you’ve been in hibernation for the past many years, you know all about Michael Phelps. Michael Phelps swims, but that’s not his verb. Swimming is not his verb, it’s not logical to think that his verb is swim because he wins gold medals. He’s won the most gold medals of any Olympian that has ever walked the earth. I think his verb is win, “I win, therefore I am.”

What’s interesting is you’re like Michael Phelps and I mentioned this in episode 29, which is about Buckminster Fuller. We are all born geniuses, what that means is we are born winners. We won the ovarian lottery. There were one billion competitors swimming with you. You swam faster, you elbowed them, you kicked them you did whatever it took and you got in.

Your dad sent you and your mom received you whether you get along with your parents or not, whether they are alive or not. It doesn’t matter. Unless you were born in a petri dish, you won. Your verb when you were born is the same as Michael Phelps. We won, “I win, therefore I am.”

We are all born winners. As a winner of the ovarian lottery, you beat out of almost a billion competitors. I don’t know if that makes sense to you or not, it doesn’t matter. If you look at the universe, which is much bigger than we are. The verb for the universe is expanding because the universe is continuously expanding.

[bctt tweet=”In Physics and in leadership, the rule applies how without movement, permanent change is not possible.” username=”AlexMandossian”]

Think about it. The earth is spinning around its axis which is leaning about 24 degrees according to science. It is spinning at 1,000 miles an hour and its traveling 64,000 miles an hour around this thing called fireball, the sun, which is 11,000 degrees from the outside. It’s a campfire.

The sun itself travels at about 252 times the speed of a rifle bullet around this galaxy, which we call the Milky Way, the outer third. It takes about 225 million years to make one revolution in this galaxy we call the Milky Way and that’s astounding.

Movement is life. Without movement, change is not possible. If you can identify your verb, you can at least know the direction you’re going. If you can change your verb, you can change your life. For me, people ask me, “What’s your verb?” It used to be improve, “I improve, therefore I am.”

When Tiger Woods got in trouble back in the day, I didn’t feel good about having the same verb. I believe his verb was improve. He changed his golf swing five times. He improved. He’s courageous but he did some things that didn’t support him at least in her personal life.

I changed my verb to engage, “I engage, therefore I am.” If you believe I am engaging you right now because you’re still reading, you know I am engaging you. When you discover your verb you will learn the one-word language that not only moves other people, but it can cause permanent and positive change in you as well as others.

Here’s my question, there’s three of them. What is your verb? Why is it your verb? How do you live in it every single day? I got a gift for you. I am excited because this episode is number 30 and if you’re on iTunes it’s a reverse chronology. Everything goes backward. The first episode is the episode at the bottom. If you go to 30 to number 1, you’ll have the same sponsor and you’ll have the same format.

List Of 112 Verbs

Understand that it’s reverse chronology like a blog post. The gift I have for you is a list of 112 verbs that can hook your mind. You don’t have to use any verb in there but it will give you some ideas. I have a slide deck where you can use it. You don’t need any credit for it. I have talk notes about the discovery of verb speech. You can revise it and change it. You can change any part of this talk you wish to adapt to your own needs.

This Verb Talk is yours to deliver as an icebreaker at workshops, webinars, Facebook, family gatherings, one-to-one coaching sessions, and any other meaningful interaction. Everything you need is at There’s no opt-in required. It’s all yours. You can use it. It’s public domain. There’s no copyright.

You have my permission to give this talk to anyone, to your tribe, your family, to anyone as long as you do not give me credit for it. I am unapologetic because this is an act of self-serving benevolence. I want to make it public domain just like the greatest promoters in the past have done like PT Barnum.

ASA 30 | Discovering Your Verb

Discovering Your Verb: Your verb is the heart of what you do. That’s movement. The noun is the head of what you do which is no movement.


PT Barnum made his biography public domain. Some of the greatest thought leaders in the past have made it public domain. I’m writing a book called Discover Your Verb, at least that’s the working title, we’ll see. The byline is going to be titled Unknown. Why am I doing this? It’s because I want people, I want thought leaders like you, whether you think you’re a thought leader or not, to apply this.

We were born to be a verb and I invite you to write your verb right now and what you think it is or to learn what it is. You can have two verbs, but to be decisive. I want you only to have one right now. You can always change your verb in the future. Mine was improve and I changed it to engage.

The template that I learned is from Monsieur René Descartes the Father of Western Philosophy. “I think, therefore I am.” That was his, for me it’s, “I engage, therefore I am.” The template is, “I (verb), therefore I am.” It’s a great affirmation to say to yourself before ethically influencing someone else, whether you are on stage on a public forum or at a webinar.

Your verb is the heart of what you do. That’s movement. The noun is the head of what you do, which is no movement. The verb is the subtitle to a book if you’re an author. It’s the promise of your book. Your title is the noun. It’s like what you do.

I’ll give you an example, if you look at any book, typically it has a title and a subtitle. If you look at Amazon and the Top 100 books, look at the title, that’s the noun of the book. Look at the subtitle, that’s the verb of the book and that gives you a lot of insight on how to create a brand for yourself.

There were two speakers of antiquity that I respect, one was Cicero. He was a Roman. When he spoke, he was a noun. People will look at him and say, “What a great speech.” Look him up on Wikipedia.

There was Demosthenes many years before. He was Greek. When he spoke, he was a verb. When Demosthenes spoke, people will say, “Let us march.” He wasn’t as eloquent as Cicero, he wasn’t as dynamic but people would take action. Would you rather be an elegant noun or a gritty verb? I would rather be a gritty verb.

The Alexism

The Alexism for this episode is don’t just look for business heroes, become one. That’s what I have to say to you. Take advantage of what I’m giving here. Be a good receiver not just a giver and everything I am giving you is public domain. I learned this from PT Barnum with his biography and it spread his message faster and easier by making it in the public domain.

In software, the public domain is called open source. WordPress, Linux, Firefox, Apache and Android. I believe copyright disrupts exposure. Yes, you have to make money and I have many people who disagree with me. It doesn’t matter. This is a public domain for me.

If you want to get access to the notes, if you want to get access to the five-minute speech which I gave at Harvard, the ten-minute speech I gave at Genius Network with Joe Polish, a 30-minute speech I gave online, a 40-minute speech I gave at the Transformation Leadership Council and a list of 108 verbs, then go to When you change your verb, you change your life.

[bctt tweet=”Don’t just look for business heroes, become one.” username=”AlexMandossian”]

A quick review of the insight you and I discovered in this episode. Why discovering your verb can make you a better influencer is as simple as knowing what makes you move things will impact others. Is projection knowing your verb? Have one verb. How to find your verb is by studying verbs of other thought leaders. That was distinction number two.

Why a meeting of two verbs brings more meaning to the interaction? When you go to a networking event people will say, “What do you do?” or, “Where are you from?” You forget that. If you knew what their verb is you say, “Why is that your verb and how do you live into it?” I hope I am making my point.

Speaking of reviews and I’ve said this again before we end this episode. If you haven’t done this, please do this now. Go to Type in your biggest takeaway or maybe it’s an a-ha moment that you experienced in this episode. You can do this when you go to iTunes at and when you type in a review, iTunes will ask you to review the episode. I hope I’ve earned five stars.

If you’ve already done it, put your a-ha or takeaway on an index card. As you look at those index cards over time you’ll be grateful to what you’ve learned. I have a final gift in honor of the 30th episode of the show. This is the final time I am offering it. It’s a complimentary copy of my eBook that’s titled Alexism: Useful Lessons from a Recovering Serial Entrepreneur, that’s me. You won’t get this offer again.

Remember in iTunes, it’s reverse chronological order. If you go down, this offer will be made for the next 29 times aside from this one. Go to It’s the final time I am offering it and that does it.

As I say week after week, I hope our paths cross again for the next one for the show because this is dedicated to you and making you a better ethical influencer. Ethical influence is within your reach and you can achieve it even exceed what you believe is your sales potential.

Do whatever it takes to join me because the topic is the Invisible Power of Precession. Have you heard that word precession? What is the invisible power of precession? Join us and I encourage you to invite a friend and bring a study buddy. It’s more fun to study with others and I can’t wait to connect with you then. It will be super fun and I hope our paths cross again then. All good wishes

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