‘”Meow” means “woof” in cat.’ – George Carlin

Changing the meaning of Language


We are amazingly complex creatures with language variations that boggle the mind.

I grew up hearing that sticks and stones could break my bones but that names would never hurt me, only to learn that name calling does hurt. It hurts deeply and profoundly and that these unseen scars can cause a lifetime of pain. Why is that? Why can a name, a sound in the air, create so much discomfort?

I think it’s important to take charge of language and understand that like all things, it’s subjective.

If I had a nickle for every time I was called stubborn as a child I would own the world’s supply. Maybe I was stubborn, maybe I wasn’t, but this really came down to someone’s opinion of my behavior. My being stubborn wasn’t valued and I was always being asked to changed my behavior. Then a funny thing happened. I moved to Nashville, TN and started working in an environment that needed my unique talent. But you know, they never called me stubborn. I started hearing this new word. Tenacious. It was a light bulb moment for me. They essentially mean the same thing, but tenacious sounds so much more positive. It sounds like a talent!

Language can shoot us down or lift us up – we’ve got to make the choice on which way we want to go.

Just recently I was taking with my husband about my “what ifs”. It’s been a touchy subject. His perspective is that I worry too much. My perspective is that I’m completely prepared, honestly what if there is a zombie apocalypse – I’m so ready! What was important to me was to flip what the language meant. I’m a planner. I help people breakdown their goals into actionable items. I help assess situations, find opportunities and create options to success – in order to do this I need to thing about the what ifs and create paths for each scenario. Essentially I help to create a choose your own living the dream adventure. In this format, my what ifs sounds like a talent.

See what we’re doing here?

This week, take a look at that word, that piece of language that keeps coming up in your life. Is it really a natural strength that you just need to learn how to harness for good?

My favorite book for digging in and focusing on our talents is Now, Discover Your Strengths by Marcus Buckingham & Donald O. Clifton, Ph D. I mentioned this book is Week Two. We have so many words to explain our short comings, but few to explain our brilliance. Understanding our strengths in such a way that we live within our truth and we share that with the world is profound. Sometimes we just have to change the language.

The possibilities and YOU are limitless!


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