“What’s your word for 2013?”
This question has been posted by several colleagues on Facebook and was discussed at a recent networking event I attended. It’s a great one; I find it helpful to identify one key word that will help to guide my choices and attitude for the coming year. Of course, many, many words will guide me, but it helps to be intentional about at least one particular idea.
The answers I hear to the question run a wide range, but often they are high-octane words: fire! passion! adventure! unleashing! avidity! sparkle! These are all absolutely fabulous words, brimming with energy. When my friend shared hers – receive – she said it felt “wimpy” in comparison to what others had chosen. The group quickly let her know that “receive” was in no way wimpy. It takes courage to receive, I think especially for introverts, since we’re allowing outside energy to come in.
But I completely understood my friend’s feeling. My word for 2013 is “ease,” which also doesn’t exactly ring with grand excitement. Why “ease”? I want to keep things simple and release attachment and resistance. You know the Staples “easy” button? I need to go get one, because I want to remember that everything I think is complicated, challenging or even impossible is really quite easy.
That same week as the networking event, I encountered another discussion about the energy of certain words, but in a different context. This was a post written by a coach, in which she shared: “We shouldn’t measure our clients, their happiness, state of well-being, and level of life satisfaction by their passion or lack of it.” (read the rest of the post here: http://lifeandcareercoachtraining.com/passion-is-not-the-answer)
She was responding to the fact that coaches – and in fact, entrepreneurs of every stripe – use the word “passion” to describe the compelling force that drives us. And if we don’t have passion, we have to “find it.” This is especially true for people in career transitions, who are trying to figure out, whether they’re 25 or 55, what they want to be when they grow up.
I appreciated the challenging of that word. “Passion” is everywhere. It’s the default way of describing the ideal state that we’d like to experience, presumably on a consistent basis. After all, if you’re not passionate about it, aren’t you wasting your time?
But what if you’re not clambering for excitement, adventure or fire?
What if you just want to… be?
Be calm. Be at ease. Go with the flow. Be open.
Ah, now doesn’t that feel better? And isn’t it amazing that we often need someone to remind us that it’s not only OK to have a calm life, but we can be happy with it?
Upon further reflection, I wondered if just as the Romance and Slavic languages have gender-specific nouns, the English language (and by extension, society) has words that are more introvert or extrovert. To me, it would at least partly explain why some words resonate more strongly with me than others.
I’m not suggesting that we draw another line in the sand between introverts and extroverts. I’m simply curious about the energy of certain words, why we are attracted to them and what affect they have on others when we use them (for instance, in our persuasive writing and marketing messages).
Here’s an example: I asked my Facebook Page fans to help me write an eBook that would be the “A-Z Guide to Understanding Introverts” (or a similar title – still noodling on it!). Here’s a small selection of the words offered up:
Just reading that list slows down my heart rate and breathing. There were other words offered up that might cause my pulse to quicken (including “passionate” and “gregarious”), but the introverted words – if I may call them that – far outnumbered the extroverted ones.
It’s not that introverts aren’t passionate or gregarious, outgoing or excited. We can be all of those things! I’m only inviting us to honor the full energetic range of words at our disposal, and to understand that some will resonate with us more fully than others.
Personally, I shouldn’t judge myself for choosing “ease,” or my friend for “receive,” just because they’re calmer words than someone else may have chosen. As Theodore Roosevelt said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” By comparing my key words with those of someone else, I’m setting myself up for feeling less joy and more smallness.
As an entrepreneur, I always need to be cognizant of the words I choose when I’m speaking to clients and potential clients. It’s not about trying to figure out what words will resonate with them… it’s about discerning what words resonate most with me. Which words represent my core values and energy? I’ve found that by trusting those words, my message naturally resonates with and attracts my ideal clients.
Choosing the words you use to describe yourself, your business or your year is a personal experience. They will only have meaning if they align with your energy and with your core truth. And in the wise words of Dr. Seuss,
“Be who you are and say what you feel,
because those who mind don’t matter,
and those who matter don’t mind.”
What do you think? Are there certain words that resonate with you more than others? Any that you see time after time in marketing messages that make you cringe? Please share in the comments.
PS: Curious about the Facebook-crowd-sourced “A-Z Guide” eBook that I mentioned? Stay tuned for an announcement about its availability in early February!