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The Power of Words

Screen Shot 2014-08-07 at 4.52.26 PM

I had my first session with a creative business coach yesterday, and wow is the word. I’m already feeling more focused, grounded, and ready to take on a few next steps that I’ve been avoiding for many months.

One of the biggest takeaways from this meeting was word choice. My coach share with me a quote by W. H. Auden: “A sentence uttered makes a world appear where all things happen as it says they do.” This is just as true in writing poetry and fictional worlds as it is in the creation of our own worlds. Now that’s not really new information, I know. But yesterday I was given some very clear examples of just how powerful this is.

So often, I put a lot of extra pressure on myself by the words I choose to use around my work. And I have no clue I am doing it most of the time. While talking with my coach, I began to go off on a tangent about the heaviness of this year-long project. After a moment, he stopped me and pointed out the language I was using… “I have to get this photo done by the end of the week”, “I can’t give up on this project because it’s all I’ve got“, “It feels like a responsibility now because so many people are watching it unfold”. He asked me how all of that made me feel, to which I replied, “Tired, and unmotivated, and like I don’t want to do any of it”. Naturally.

Then he asked me a great question. Why am I doing this? What do I get out of it, removing all other people from the equation? And then I went on for several minutes describing all the wondrous things about it… “I get so completely lost in my photography in the best of ways. It’s like creating my own universe that only I exist in and I can create it to be anything I want”. By the time I was done, I was bright-eyed and beaming. He asked me to notice how I felt now, and how completely different this feeling was from the original one. Amazing.

What I took away from this, is to be oh-so careful about the language I use around my work and life. To protect it fiercely from the wrong words. A simple change he requested I practice was to start replacing the words “have to” with the words “want to”. So simple, yet SO powerful! Just as soon as I started saying “I want to get this photo done today” or “I want to be doing this project” it was like a complete 180 in my motivation and excitement about it.

I know I’m not alone in this one, we all can stand to pay closer attention to the language we use about our work, our life, and ourselves. This isn’t exactly new information I know, but I figured we can all use a little refresher about the importance of choosing the best words. Something to think about and practice in the coming weeks!

5 Comments Post a comment
  1. queenofkrafts #

    So timely and appropriate! Thank you for the reminder :-) x

    Thursday, August 7, 2014
  2. I know EXACTLY what your coach is saying to you and it’s so true.

    I get lost in my photography when I’m out walking in Nature and forget the constant physical pain. Most of the time I arrive home pain-free and uplifted. I also try to watch my thought processes and concentrate on doing/thinking about the positive (or things I can do) – not the things I can’t do.

    I might add that that I try to avoid negative people or people who criticise me too.

    It’s my life and within my limits, (physically, mentally and financially), I spend my day doing what gives me joy.

    The important thing is to feel the blessings we take for granted. Notice the kindness of individuals. Be aware of the potential (for expansion of mind/body and soul).

    Do everything in your life in a Mindful way and after a while, the joy in living will come back to you and the pain of losing your loved one well lessen.

    It’s not just about getting through each hour or minute of the day, life is about truly opening ones eyes and seeing and appreciating the beauty and gifts we have.

    Thursday, August 7, 2014
  3. I WANT to paint today! I WANT to help my friend put up the sign we made together for the community garden. I WANT to go for a run (yes I do, c’mon Caroline, get out that door…) Thanks Sarah for another useful and inspiring post!! x

    Thursday, August 7, 2014
  4. Great post! I remember a distinct moment during my graduate studies. It was late, and I was finishing a paper. My back ached, I was hot, and I wanted to scream. I was so frustrated!

    Then I thought about why I went to graduate school. I love the material, and I wanted to dedicate years of my life to studying the material. Writing this paper allowed me to think about the things I dedicated myself to study–out of love.

    I had transformed that love, however, into the desire to please my professors. I wanted to write what they wanted, up to the standards that they wanted. This was an impossible standard, and living up to it hurt. Because I could only imagine precisely what they wanted, though, I realized my own imagination was ruining the labor of love that I had started.

    By transforming my goal in my mind, I finished the paper out of love of the subject rather than fear of my professors. I enjoyed the process and the result.

    Going even deeper, though, doesn’t it feel frivolous to do something just because I love it or feel like doing it? If it doesn’t really feel like work, is it really work? The answer is no, but in my mind if it’s not an obligation, it doesn’t have value. I am free to love what I’m doing, and do out of love. Even if I’m not doing something out of obligation, it can still have value. I realized that it takes dedication to transform fear to love every day.

    Keep doing what you love! (But not for my sake, of course :) )

    Thursday, August 7, 2014
  5. FABULOUS Sarah… Simply fabulous!!!

    Thursday, August 7, 2014

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