Category Archives: 52 things

52 things I know about words (and you should too) #5 Words Connect

According to Malcolm Gladwell, I’m a Connector – with a healthy dose of Maven thrown in. Who am I to argue with  best selling author and trend-setter, Malcolm? Connector sounds spot on to me. It almost certainly explains why I am such a fanatic about blogging and social media –  they provide unprecedented opportunities to meet and connect with a limitless array of fascinating, brilliant and inspiring people who (due to a myriad of reasons; geography, vocation, social status, ect.) would be otherwise out of my reach.

True to the connector profile, one of my greatest joys is bringing amazing people together.

If you know me, you’ve heard me say “Oh, you should know X – you two would totally hit it off.” or “Oh, you are working on Y? You really have to check out Z – she is doing really great work about that.” I’ve also been known to throw some pretty kick-ass parties, for the sole joy of seeing people from different corners of my world meet.

When two people that I’ve introduced hit it off – “Oh, wow – he is so great.” and “Did you know that X and I both …?” – and I get to see that special spark of a new friendship or alliance just waiting to happen – it’s one of the most fulfilling things I know.

Anais Nin said it best, I think:

“Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.”

That’s my moment. When due to a connection I’ve fostered, I get to see a new world born.

So it’s only natural that having found and connected with so many truly exceptional people through this blog and related Facebook and Twitter endeavors over the last year, I would want to find a way to share them with you all.

And…since this is a blog about the power of words, what better way to introduce you than by way of asking them to share their unique relationship to words and the power language?

The world of One Word Wednesday is born.

In this weekly series, I will introduce you to the people that I have learned from, been encouraged, inspired and amused by, hope to emulate, and just plain like.

In doing so, I aim to give rise to many new worlds being born.

Here’s a preview of some of the questions I’ll be asking:

  • What one word describes you(and why)?
  • What one word describes your mission, or your message(and why)?
  • What one word would you give to your audience – like a superpower (and why)?
  • What’s your ‘go to’ word? The one that you can always count on to rock your day, or turn the moment around if you are not on your game?

Check back next Wednesday for the first installment. Same bat time, same bat channel. In the meantime, I’d be delighted to hear your answers.

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52 things I know about words (and you should too) #4 Words Elevate

I was reminded recently of how just a few simple words can elevate our thinking, our emotions, our intentions, and the quality of our daily living.

A woman I had never met -but who was known well by many members of my immediate social circle – died recently. I didn’t know her, but since so many of my friends did I have been party to conversations about her life, who she was for those around her, and her passing. Hearing my friends speak of her, I know she was certainly a remarkable woman. I wish I had known her.

You’re probably familiar with the popular practice of having a “bucket list.” A list of things you want to do before you die. Most of these lists, mine included, are made up of experiences and accomplishments – vacations, traveling, achieving goals and such.

Hers was different, and one of her closest friends shared it with me (with permission to share it with you):

Joanne left us a road map in the form of her bucket-list. Now, you’ll remember that her list was not your ordinary traditional bucket-list. It didn’t list places to go and things to do or see before you die. Rather, it is a list to live by:
1. Love Everyone
2. Acknowledge Everyone
3. Forgive Everyone
4. BEing Compassionate

As I said – surely a remarkable woman. I am moved each time I read this. I am humbled. I am also a bit embarrassed of my own bucket-list – rather narcissistic in comparison –  that includes mostly things like: sail around the word, go to Greece with my girlfriends, write a best-selling book, become a sought-after speaker and coach. Yes, there are some generous, altruistic and benevolent-sounding things on my list, but they are nowhere near the top  and (telling the unflattering truth) they only came to mind to include once I had pictured that all the other “fun stuff” was accomplished.

Do I want to do those things? Yes. Do I think it is wrong to have those kinds of goals for myself? No. And yet,  by Joanne’s words, I am humbled and inspired to push to the top of the list a few things more lofty and uplifting to the world and those around me. The words of woman I never met have elevated my thinking and my aspirations to reach farther and deeper than my own amusement.
My new, elevated bucket-list now includes at the top:

  1. Love everyone.
  2. Acknowledge everyone.
  3. Forgive everyone.
  4. Live with heart, humility and passion.
  5. Leave a legacy worth celebrating.

As I move quickly toward a milestone birthday (more on that later), I am so very grateful for the elevating gift of Joanne’s words.

What about you? What are some words that have elevated your life? What can you say today to elevate your world?

photo credit: phil h

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52 things I know about words (and you should too): #3 Words Linger

Words linger.

I suppose I might have long known this, but I had never thought about it much until I got this message on Twitter:

@itsleisa Words have the power to give encouragement long after the writer has forgotten them and I thank you for that. ~ @Ultralucky

Unknown

Wow. Wow because I don’t know @Ultralucky, and until I got the message, hadn’t been following him on Twitter. Still, somehow he’d been moved to send me that message. I blog about the power of words to shape our lives. I can only guess it was something I’d said on my blog, in a tweet or something.

In any event, it got me thinking of recent words that have lingered for me. Other messages of appreciation and gratitude that I’ve randomly received, from friends, and few folks I didn’t even really know.

Forgotten

Like this Facebook message a few weeks back from a woman who had participated in a workshop that I helped facilitate:

I have a memory of you….
I’m not sure if you remember me, but I wanted to share this with you.

So, I’m in the workshop, and you are coaching people that are having a hard time creating a declaration for thier future.

I am “done” with mine and you invite me to help coach a classmate. He’s crying about the past and unwilling to declare himself–and I want to hug him and tell him it’s okay, poor baby, etc… He explains where the pain is coming from all while crying–

And you say to him–“I got all that, but what’s the drama about?”
I was shocked at your “coldness” and your ability to be so direct. My eyes were wide and I just stared at you for what felt like way too long.

I watched the guy (I don’t remember his name) stop crying, get over it, walk on stage, declare his future, and move on.

By the end of Sunday night of the workshop, I “got it” for myself. I remembered what life was like before I started feeling sorry for myself. And then began living that again.

I’ve always given the course leader the credit for me moving to a new level in my life–but when I saw your face on here today–I remembered what happened.

I moved myself–by watching you stand for someone.
You make me proud to be a woman!

Yep, that one made me cry. Having facilitated a myriad of workshops, I have no memory of that interaction. But but there it was – my words had lingered in a big way.

Old friend

Then, a while back man I haven’t seen in years, but am connected with on Facebook said how much he enjoyed my Facebook posts and called me an “accessible goddess” – I’ve never dared think of myself as goddess-like, but if I am for him – I’ll accept the mantle with pleasure.

Renewed friend

And I learned I was quotable in a conversation with a sweet friend who had just moved back into town. We were sharing and chatting like crazy to catch up on the last two years, I started talking about the things I am passionate about, and what is lighting me up these days, when she said

“Stop. Wait. Get me a pen and some paper, I want to take notes.”

Yes, I hesitated a bit in sharing these anecdotes. I’m desperately afraid of sounding pompous, when in fact I am deeply humbled and honored by these acknowledgments.

You are lingering

I share because I know you have your own version of these moments. And I share mine to make the point – words linger. And you don’t know who’s listening. And you don’t know what will linger, or with whom, nor for how long.

This has always been true, but in our digital age, even more so. Now, rather than our words lingering in our family or immediate community, they linger globally. Immediately accessible, searchable, save-able and shareable, by millions, if not billions of people.

Where once I might have been blissfully unconscious of the reach and impact of my words, this realization has gotten me very interested in paying close attention to both who I am talking to, and what I am saying.

I now speak with an awakened curiosity of how, where and with whom my words might linger. Do you?

What about you?

What words have lingered with you?
What words do you want to leave lingering?

photo credit: Gregory Bastien

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